Posts tagged ‘waders’
During winter, Woodcock may be the most numerous wader in Wales, but what is the extent of our breeding population? The breeding distribution covers much of Britain, though a considerable reduction in range has been indicated, and it is now amber listed as a bird of conservation concern.
Woodcock is our only wading bird adapted to breed in woodland, both broad-leaved and coniferous. Nocturnal habits and a cryptic nature make it difficult to monitor the breeding population using traditional surveys. A special survey method therefore, has been devised which uses counts of territorial roding flights, undertaken by males at dusk and dawn, to estimate the number of individual males present.
The first breeding Woodcock Survey, undertaken in 2003, estimated a breeding population of 78,000 males in Britain, providing a baseline against which to assess future population change. The results of the 2013 Woodcock Survey will be crucial in determining the extent of changes to the breeding population size and distribution.
In our region we have been allocated two 1km survey squares, but there is scope for us to cover additional ones. Please get in touch if you’d like to get involved. You may discover some Nightjars during your visits too.
tel: 01443 430284
Reporting on population trends of birds revealed through WeBS counts, the latest issue of Waterbirds in the UK is now available. The report covers the freezing winter of 2010/11 and reaffirms how important the Severn Estuary is for wintering waterbirds in Wales.
Counts on the Severn Estuary were, for many species, higher than recent averages, with over 75000 wildfowl and waders utilising the estuary, presumably in response to the cold weather. Although it was cold in western Britain, birds from even colder areas further east in Europe, are likely to have made use of west coast estuaries as cold weather refuges.
Along with Dunlin and Ringed Plover, the six other species to use the Severn Estuary in internationally important numbers (more than 1% of the total international population) are Mute Swan (400), Bewick’s Swan (250), Shelduck (4,230), Pintail (730), Shoveler (570), and Redshank (2,920).
By monitoring our wetlands our volunteers are helping to illustrate important population trends of our wintering waterbirds and how these birds respond to cold weather.
Holt, C.; Austin, G.; Calbrade, N.; Mellan, H.; Hearn, R.; Stroud, D.; Wotton, S. & Musgrove, A. (2011) Waterbirds in the UK 2010/11: The Wetland Bird Survey. British Trust for Ornithology, Thetford.
The Wetland Bird Survey (WeBS) is the scheme which monitors non-breeding waterbirds in the UK. The principal aims of WeBS are to identify population sizes, determine trends in numbers and distribution and to identify important sites for waterbirds.
The latest annual report, for 2009-10 has now been published.
Though many of our most important water bodies in East Glamorgan are currently surveyed, BTO is keen to broaden the survey to include smaller sites, especially marshy areas that may hold species such as Snipe. If you’d like to get involved, please contact:
WeBS Organiser for East Glamorgan
Holt, C.; Austin, G.; Calbrade, N.; Mellan, H.; Mitchell, C.; Stroud, D.; Wotton, S. & Musgrove, A. (2011) Waterbirds in the UK 2009/10: The Wetland Bird Survey. British Trust for Ornithology, Thetford.
In October 2010, the Government announced:
that it does not see a strategic case to bring forward a tidal energy scheme in the Severn estuary at this time (Severn Tidal Power, Feasibility Conclusions).
In this month’s British Birds, a short article reports BTOs findings on the potential impact that each of the proposed five alternative developments would have on the estuary’s avifauna.
All five schemes would reduce the available inter-tidal habitat available to waders and Shelduck. The remaining habitat would be underwater for a greater length of time, resulting in less time available for birds to feed. The largest barrage scheme would result in the loss of up to three quarters of inter-tidal sandflats and a quarter of saltmarsh being lost. All five schemes would result in significant declines in waterbird populations.
Water flow would be reduced as a result of each scheme, resulting in a less murky estuary, enabling plankton to flourish along with other species up the food chain, including the invertebrate prey of birds. This positive effect however, would be small in comparison with the predicted large-scale loss of habitat. Furthermore, increased long-term erosion of habitat is also predicted, again resulting in waterbird decline.
Wright, L.; Burton, N. & Clark, N. (2011) The potential impacts of tidal-power development on the Severn Estuary, British Birds 104, pp. 161.