New island size of 25 football pitches appears off German coast after sandbanks emerge from the North SeaThe landmass, dubbed Bird Island, gradually emerged 15 miles off the coast of Schleswig-HolsteinA total of 49 species of plants have been detected on the island, which is composed of sandbanks
22:12 GMT, 9 January 2013
02:33 GMT, 10 January 2013
An island the size of 25 football pitches has appeared seemingly out of nowhere off the coast of Germany.
The landmass, which is composed of sandbanks, gradually emerged from the violent waters of the North Sea over the past few years.
It lies 15 miles off the coast of Schleswig-Holstein in Germany’s far north in a stretch of coastline known as the Wattenmeer, a marine national park.
'Anything but ordinary': The new landmass has been dubbed Bird Island after its first settlers; who include gulls, eider ducks, grey geese and even peregrine falcons
Nature lovers and yachstmen noticed the appearance of Bird Island – named after the seabirds who rest, nest or feed on the sand dunes that are up to 16ft high.
Winds blew seeds from across Europe, and 49 species of plants have been detected on it.
'Who needs an artificial island off the coast of Dubai' asked the Bild newspaper, Germany’s largest, when the landmass composed of sandbanks grew, and stayed put, in the North Sea.
But before locals reach for the beachtowels and sun loungers, nature might beat them to it.
Landmass: The island, which is composed of sandbanks, has emerged from the waters of the North Sea off the coast of Germany over the past few years
Dunes: Nearly 50 different plant species have been discovered on the island after winds blew seeds from across Europe
Bird Island lies 15 miles off the coast of Schleswig-Holstein in Germany
Martin Stock, a biologist with the National Park Management which oversees the Wattenmeer, said; 'A strong storm flood could wipe the island out overnight. The plants do not have the roots necessary yet to bind the dunes together.'
It is the first time in a quarter of a century that a discernible landmass has appeared in the coastal waters off Germany.
Detlef Hansen, head of the national park, said; 'This is for us conservationists anything but ordinary.'
Tidal actions unrelated to global warming or other earthly phenomena have created the island.
While a boatload of tourists made it to the sands a week ago, they were under strict instructions to keep away from the gulls, grey geese, eider ducks, common ringed plovers and even peregrine falcons that use it.
And, this time at least, none of them was allowed to bring a deckchair…..