RARE bird sightings across Trafford have been highlighted by campaigners looking to preserve wildlife havens.

Twitchers have been descending on Carrington Moss to check out whooper swans which have graced the site.

And little egrets are also infrequent visitors to the beauty spot, according to the Greater Manchester Birding City Region project (GMBCR).

Campaigners have spoken out as the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework (GMSF) has come to the fore once again, amid claims green sites are not being afforded enough protection.

James Walsh, otherwise known as the Mancunian Birder, said: "Some mythical looking rare birds - egrets and swans - are gracing the greenbelt land of Greater Manchester.

"You could look at it from a spiritual angle and see these birds as messengers."

Shaun Hargreaves, of the GMBCR project, added: "The occurrence of these rare birds really show the importance of our beautiful and picturesque greenbelt land in Greater Manchester.

"The rare birds get the headlines, but greenbelt land is so important for many bird species that are currently suffering well documented catastrophic population declines, such as skylarks, tree sparrows, grey partridges, barn owls, corn buntings and yellowhammers.

"If saved, the greenbelt land can be managed to increase the populations of these species, and so many more. In turn, thriving ecosystems can potentially be utilised to create an eco-tourism industry.

"If the GMSF goes ahead in its’ current form it will contribute further to the biodiversity crisis and the climate crisis.

"David Attenborough recently warned us about the perils of habitat loss and wildlife becoming extinct. We have to make a stand – we can’t allow this to happen in front of our own eyes, on our own doorstep.”