Waterbirds in a Freezing Winter
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.