Wednesday, 7 October 2020

Surveying disturbance


Over the weekend we began our most extensive study into disturbance of the internationally important numbers of wintering waterfowl and waders on Lindisfarne National Nature Reserve. The aim of the study is to map disturbance incidences across the Reserve to get a better understanding of the effect that this has on the movements and redistribution of birds across the site and whether repeated disturbance moves them off the Reserve entirely. To get an overview of the whole area, 4 stations are dotted around the Reserve and observed over a protracted period of time. These surveys will be undertaken frequently through autumn and winter.

Surveyors eye view

While undertaking these surveys it would be remiss of us not to get more detailed counts on top of the counts already undertaken through casual observations, WeBs and Grey goose counts. From the observations so far it is clear that ducks and geese are approaching their peak on the Reserve with almost 10,000 Wigeon and 3,200 Brent Geese recorded at one station alone. Numbers of Pink-footed Geese are also beginning to peak with thousands flighting in and out of the Reserve every day. Over the weekend large numbers of Barnacle geese have also arrived fresh in from the high Arctic. Some of the Barnacle Geese remain on the Reserve throughout the winter but others make a quick stop to refuel before heading further west towards the Solway Firth.

Waders on the shoreline ©JJD

Big influx of Wigeon ©JJD 

Observing and recording disturbance events and how this affects bird numbers, distribution and movements will help inform the future management of the National Nature Reserve. We will keep you updated with the progress.

Half the worlds population of Light-bellied Brent Geese can be seen on the Reserve ©JJD 

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