Tuesday, 1 October 2013

21st September: Beached Birds update

The analysis of beached birds from the shores of Holy Island and the nearby coast is continuing, with further birds being brought to the Lindisfarne NNR office where they are stored until collection by Daniel M Turner, coordinator of the Northeast England Beached Bird Survey (NEBBS) Group. Daniel then takes these beached birds to the Dove Marine Laboratory at Newcastle University for examination.

Daniel has kindly summarized the latest findings. Daniel writes:

Analysis of a Fulmar found on 10th March 2013 by Lindisfarne resident George Moody has revealed the stomach contents. The plastics within the stomach comprised a total of four pieces including an elongated translucent item approximately 3.5 cm in length and 1.0 cm wide. The total weight of the plastic within this adult male was 0.0255 grams. Another 2013 Fulmar, also analysed in the Dove Marine Laboratory in early June (for details of this analysis, please click here) was a corpse found by beach surveyor Peter Collins between Whitburn and Roker, Tyne and Wear, on 24th March. This bird proved to be an adult female that died from starvation - in its stomach were 346 plastic items, including 16 industrial pellets. The total weight of plastics inside this individual was 0.9839 grams while the length of the majority was between 2 and 4 mm. This latter Fulmar provided tissue samples for future chemical analysis to investigate the level and locations of pollutants. This bird also had unusual swellings on its feet. 

Plastic ingested by the two fulmars (Photos by Dr J A Van Franeker)

A television programme (BBC 1, Inside Out) about the effect of plastics on Fulmars and the environment, was shown earlier in September, with an associated BBC Radio York item.

As well as collecting beached fulmars for analysis the NEBBS Group records all other birds and other natural life found deposited on the shore.

The NEBBS group webpage may be found on their website, and for further information on the international project, including the option to download various reports, visit www.wageningenur.nl/plastics-fulmars

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