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Nature reserve in need of rain

PUBLISHED: 11:35 27 September 2009 | UPDATED: 14:17 06 July 2010

BIRDS looking for somewhere to rest on their long migrations are facing more problems - it is not just Minsmere Bird Reserve where water levels have fallen dramatically.

BIRDS looking for somewhere to rest on their long migrations are facing more problems - it is not just Minsmere Bird Reserve where water levels have fallen dramatically.

The National Trust's Orford Ness Nature Reserve is a significant site for migratory birds, but the dry summer on the Suffolk coast has left the marshes and lagoons with very little water.

It's estimated that two weeks of solid rain is needed to replenish water levels in the lagoons and marshes of this reserve to improve conditions for migrating waders, ducks and geese.

Orford Ness has not suffered as dramatic a fall in the water level as the Scrape at Minsmere - revealed in yesterday's EADT- but it is still crucial for birds heading south at this time of the year.

The UK has seen a real divide this year, with the south and east experiencing warmer temperatures and less rainfall than the north and west.

Provisional Met Office figures show that Suffolk was the second driest county in the UK this summer, with 128.3mm of rainfall between June and August. Kent was the driest with 114mm.

It's not the driest summer on record, 2003 saw 120.2mm of rainfall. But it's thought that the combination of this summer's low rainfall, as well as bright and breezy days increased evaporation and led to the brackish lagoons (mixture of fresh and salt water) on Orford Ness reaching critically low levels.

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