Attenborough Nature Reserve: Home for bitterns celebrates 50th anniversary

Bittern at Attenborough Nature Reserve Image copyright Andy Cope
Image caption In 2015, two bittern chicks hatched at the reserve in what was described as a "fantastic" breeding success after 15 years of conservation work at the site

A nature reserve famous for its herons and bitterns is celebrating its 50th anniversary.

The Attenborough Wildlife Reserve near Nottingham, run by the Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust, is home to one of the UK's largest heronries.

Conservationists have worked to restore reed beds in the hope of providing bitterns and herons with a safer place to breed.

The reserve was opened by Sir David Attenborough in 1966.

Wildlife ranger Tim Sexton took on a challenge in 2015 to identify more than 1,000 different organisms at the reserve within one year.

Image copyright Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust
Image caption Naturalist Sir David Attenborough looked at plans for the reserve's centre in 1988 and visited again in 2005 for its official opening.
Image copyright Attenborough Nature Centre
Image caption In 2015, a nesting hide for sand martins with 150 tunnels was built with a £56,000 Heritage Lottery grant. The birds arrive every year from sub-Saharan Africa
Image copyright Rod Baker
Image caption A white-winged black tern, usually found in Central Asia and Africa, was spotted at the reserve in September 2013. About 800 bird watchers came to Attenborough to see the rare visitor
Image copyright Tim Sexton
Image caption Seven species of bat including (left to right) a nathusius, soprano and common pipistrelle are found in the reserve
Image copyright Tim Sexton
Image caption The rhinoceros beetle was one of more than 1,000 different organisms found during the stock take in 2015
Image copyright Richard Snow
Image caption The nature reserve is now designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) noted for its winter ducks - shoveler, pochard, wigeon, goosander and shelduck
Image copyright Tim Sexton
Image caption Attenborough Nature Reserve is in danger of losing the common blue butterfly, according to rangers

Mr Sexton said although there were many successes over the past years, the reserve was still in danger of losing some species, such as cuckoos, skylark, meadow pipits and common blue butterflies.

Nottinghamshire wildlife artist Michael Warren will be exhibiting artwork at the nature centre during the anniversary, including 14 commissioned pieces featuring Attenborough and other Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust reserves.

A dawn chorus walk is planned for the anniversary weekend along with a nature walk.

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