31/05/2021
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Quad bikers filmed driving over wader nests in Norfolk

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Footage of quad bikers driving over wader breeding grounds at RSPB Snettisham has been released.

The clip, filmed by the RSPB, shows five quad bikes driving at speed across both Snettisham Beach and the nature reserve, over several miles of vital nesting habitat. The individual filming can be heard shouting "stop" on the video, as they document the riders' actions.

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The events come at the start of the breeding season after the birds, including Ringed Plovers, have spent months displaying courtship rituals, pair bonding and in the lead up to egg laying. The quad bikes in this incident were seen driving across wildlife-rich coastal land owned by Ken Hill Estate, where the BBC's Springwatch is currently being filmed.

Working with Norfolk Police, the charity is urging visitors to be mindful of wildlife in the countryside, with over half of England's most threatened breeding bird species nesting on or near to the ground. Therefore, disturbance such as this can have a substantial impact, particularly as the Norfolk Ringed Plover breeding population has declined by 79% in the last 35 years.

To help aid the fortunes of Ringed Plover, the Plovers in Peril initiative is working to educate beach users on the fragility of the species, while also monitoring the bird's behaviours and habitats. Wynona Legg, Ringed Plover Project Officer, said: "As a team we watch the birds at every step of their journey while working hard to give them the space and protection they need.

"The RSPB is working collaboratively with Ken Hill Estate and Norfolk Coast AONB to raise awareness of beach nesting birds on the site, and we hope to demonstrate that by watching your step and giving breeding birds space, together we can ensure their presence here is safeguarded long into the future."