A habitat improvement project, which will benefit hundreds of thousands of migratory waterbirds, has been granted £10,000 from the Wildlife Habitat Charitable Trust (WHCT).

The project will see the restoration of open natural floodplain habitats in Senrusne Ornithological Reserve of the Nemunas River Delta in Lithuania.

The Nemunas River delta is one of the most important stopover sites for migratory populations of waterbirds in Europe and the key-breeding site of rare and endangered species of birds. The site supports 54 nesting bird species listed in the Annex I of the EU Birds Directive, among them – several globally threatened species. Internationally important migratory concentrations of 17 waterbird species (exceeding the 1% Ramsar threshold) were recently recorded in the site. It is the key stopover and re-fuelling site for a number of species breeding in European tundra and wintering in UK, including species listed in the Wildlife Habitat Charitable Trust list.

BASC’s director of conservation, Tim Russell, said: “I am delighted to be working with Wetlands International and the Institute of Ecology at Vilnius University, Lithuania on this project. This is an internationally important staging and feeding site for migratory waterbirds. Due to the loss of traditional grazing systems the site is becoming overgrown with shrubs, significantly reducing its value for waterfowl. The site has recorded daily counts of 5000 greylag geese, 30,000 mallard, 10,000 pintail and 30,000 wigeon, so it is clearly very important’.


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