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Nature reserve awarded over £20,000 to save rare bird

Avocet feeding in water Credit: RSPB

A nature reserve has been awarded £21,400 to help protect a bird once declared extinct in the UK.

The Washington Wetland Centre, which is home to the avocet, has been awarded the money by Biffa. The money will be spent on improving the bird’s habitat at the centre in the hope of encouraging breeding.

Reserve manager John Gowland said: “Both avocet and common tern are amber-listed birds of conservation concern and our site is home to some key breeding colonies, with the terns peaking at about 100 pairs and avocets increasing from the first pair in 2006 to a site record of 23 adults in summer 2015.

“Thanks to this funding we’re now able to double the area of suitable breeding habitat by adding a new island along with a loafing spit, which will be ideal for smaller species such as little ringed plover."

Five-foot Python found in Kirkleatham Woods

The snake found in Kirkleatham Woods

A five-foot long python has been found by a member of the public in Kirkleatham Woods, the fourth snake on the loose in Teesside in the past month.

It has been temporarily housed while investigations continue.

In recent weeks, two snakes were found in the Wilton Lane area of Guisborough, with a third discovered in a car park near Cineworld in Middlesbrough.

Police say while there is no information to suggest there are any more snakes loose in the area, if any are found, they should not be disturbed and people and other animals should keep a safe distance.

Parents with children should also remain vigilant.

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Lifeguard rescued stranded dog from beach in Sunderland

Credit: RNLI

A lifeguard rescued a stranded dog from 'Cats and Dogs' beach in Sunderland yesterday.

Gertie the Jack Russell had chased some birds into the sea, but then got stuck on a rock.

RNLI lifeguard Joe Wilson spotted Gertie after he heard her owners shouting. He waded out to the rock she was stuck on - where she was up to her chest in water and too scared to swim.

Joe then carried Gertie back to shore and her grateful owners.

He said: "She was stressed and shaking when I reached her but seemed very happy to see me. Our charity’s lifeguards assist with animal rescues to prevent owners from putting themselves in danger. We were very happy to get Gertie’s paws back on dry land and offered her owners some friendly safety advice about tide times."

The BIG Butterfly Count 2015

Credit: Joan Rodger

Today sees the start of the 2015 Big Butterfly Count.

It is a simple way to keep track of butterfly numbers in the UK - and you can help.

All you need to do is spend 15 minutes observing butterflies and make a note of all those that you spot. It is that easy and can go a long way to help make sure butterflies continue to be a feature in our region.

How many can you spot? Credit: Big Butterfly Count

You can find all the details of how you can get involved here.

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