Tuesday, 15 September 2020

September update

The Reserve is in the midst of it's annual transition as summer breeding birds begin their long migrations we welcome the 50,000 waders, geese and ducks that call the Reserve home during winter. Last week the last of the shorebird protective fencing has been removed from the Reserve. Whilst the fences and seasonal restrictions have been removed it is important to remember that the restriction regarding dogs on leads is still in place across the Reserve. This is one of the byelaws and remains in place throughout the year. Lindisfarne National Nature Reserve is not only an important breeding ground for several species of vulnerable shorebirds but is also a vital wintering ground and refuelling stop for tens of thousands of birds. Waterfowl will travel from the frigid arctic circle every autumn to use the vast rich intertidal area to feed on worms, molluscs and eel grass that can be found here. If they remained in their summer breeding areas the ground would be frozen solid and they would have nothing to eat so the mild british winters offer ample opportunity to feed throughout the coldest months of the year. Many of these birds will move in and out with the tide and as a consequence be in direct conflict with people and dogs along the coastline. This is why we ask that dogs be kept on leads at all times on the Reserve even on the beaches. If flocks of birds are continually disturbed they are unable to lay down the fat reserves required to either recover from their migration to Lindisfarne or make the arduous migration back to their breeding or wintering grounds and many perish as a consequence. So if you see a flock of birds along the coast please give them space to relax and feed.
It has been nice over the last week to hear the first Pink-footed Geese returning to the Reserve. Numbers of Wigeon and Light-bellied Brent Geese have been building on the Reserve and are currently at around 2000 individuals each. It is a reminder that we have already reached autumn of this very strange year.
We are busy collating the data from the breeding shorebird season but the initial headline is that it has been a tough season for them with several high tides accompanied by higher than normal disturbance. Once the numbers are crunched we will update you with the final figures.

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