Luke looking for Cirl Bunting breeding pairs
Luke looking for Cirl Bunting breeding pairs

Hello Plymouth – have you ever seen a Cirl Bunting? They’re a rare bird that lives in the Devon countryside and I got sight of a few of them today!

Today I visited the RSPB nature reserve at Labrador Bay near Newton Abbot to see these birds and their nesting areas for myself. They’re very rare but the RSPB has a plan to restore their numbers and it starts with protecting the landscapes they thrive in. That means the mix of grassland, arable crops and natural hedgerows.

I’m not a bird spotter but with a pair of binoculars I had a good chance of seeing these cheeky little birds up close.

The RPSB bought the land overlooking the sea at Labrador Bay back in 2008 and since then they’ve seen numbers of Cirl Buntings increase not just on their land but in the areas around them too. They’ve even been seen close to Plymouth!

We are in a climate and nature crisis. We need to cut carbon but we also need to protect nature, helping species recover, protecting habitats and cutting pollution. I may no longer lead on the environment for Labour but I’m proud to be a Labour MP that’s red on the outside and green on the inside.

I want to see more people get involved in protecting nature. The RSPB have a special hub for volunteers top help with Cirl Buntings – they have some volunteers from Plymouth but have very few in the South Hams. Could you help?

I’m not sure I’m going to become a professional twitcher but it was a real privilege to see the RSPB’s work firsthand. Let’s all do what we can to protect nature and look after the rare species we have in our region.

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