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Rutland Water
Rutland Water

There are 19 Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) in Rutland, a ceremonial county in the East Midlands of England. SSSIs are designated by Natural England, a non-departmental public body which is responsible for protecting England's natural environment. Designation as an SSSI gives legal protection to the most important wildlife and geological sites. Sixteen of the nineteen SSSIs in Rutland are designated for their biological importance, one for its geological importance and two under both criteria. The largest site is Rutland Water (pictured) at 1,555 hectares (3,840 acres), a Ramsar internationally important wetland site and a Special Protection Area under the European Union Directive on the Conservation of Wild Birds. The smallest is Tolethorpe Road Verges at 1.0 hectare (2.5 acres), which has several regionally uncommon plants on Jurassic limestone. (Full list...)

Today's featured picture

Curlew sandpiper

The curlew sandpiper (Calidris ferruginea) is a small wader that breeds on the tundra of Arctic Siberia. It is a strongly migratory bird, wintering mainly in Africa, but also in Australia, New Zealand, and south and southeast Asia. The curlew sandpiper is similar to the dunlin, and has a length of 18–23 cm (7.1–9.1 in) and wingspan of 38–41 cm (15–16 in). In breeding season it has a bright red underside. This picture shows a curlew sandpiper in Thailand, with its winter plumage.

Photograph: JJ Harrison

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