The Royal Society of the Protection of Birds (RSPB) has bought Wallasea Island, eight miles north of Southend, to develop as a 1,800 acre wetland sanctuary for wild birds, such as spoonbills and Kentish plovers.

The project is expected to cost more that £12 million and work will begin in two years.

Meanwhile for those waiting to do their bit for birds in there gardens, especially the declining numbers of once common house sparrows, starlings and some thrushes, the RSPB is advising plating shrubs or climbers such as honeysuckle or roses. They also advise leaving patches of long grass to attract insects, an eco-friendly approach likely to be popular with those wanting an excuse not to mow the lawn.

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