Tag Archives: RSPB

Guillemots return early at Bempton Cliffs

Visitors to the Bempton Cliffs RSPB site are enjoying the early return of guillemots. Hundreds of the distinctive black and white birds have reappeared at the site.
The birds, which would not normally be expected at the site for several weeks yet, are however only providing fleeting glimpses, however ahead of the usual arrival in spring and summer. Up to 60,000 adult guillemots and their chicks can be seen along the 400ft chalk cliffs in spring and summer.
Bempton Cliffs Site manager Ian Kendall said: “It almost feels as though they are playing a game with us, but the truth is they probably leave the cliffs as the weather changes.”
“When it gets round to the breeding season proper they’ll stay exactly where they are, looking after their chicks whatever the weather.”
“It’s unclear what has brought about this early return. It may be that there is plenty of food in the wild wintry seas off Bempton or the constantly changing weather could be the reason.”
“Whatever it is that drives them to do this, we think these occasional early visits in large numbers somehow help bond the colony together and it certainly makes a for a fantastic wildlife spectacle.”
It was announced last year that the Bempton Cliffs site will be upgraded to become the national seabird centre for England, and more than one million pounds will be spent by the RSPB over the coming five years to further develop the site which currently attracts up to 45,000 visitors a year.

Source: Yorkshire Post

RSPB Bempton Cliffs website

Rare crested lark bird seen at Dungeness nature Reserve

Over 2000 Birdwatchers have visited the Dungeness RSPB nature reserve over the past week to try to view the crested lark bird which has been seen for only the 3rd time in Britain in the past 35 years.

The crested lark was seen at Dungeness National Nature Reserve in Kent on Wednesday 29th April. A Spokesman for the Romney Marsh Countryside Project, Owen Leyshon, said the rare bird was similar to the more common skylark but “slightly plainer and a different shape”.

Owen added: “It will have crossed over the Channel from France. They are not rare in Europe, but they are here as they are a non-migratory bird and do not usually like flying over water”. He also said that the crested lark was “quite secretive and flighty so it’s hard to get prolonged views of it on the ground. It’s quite an amazing spectacle to see hundreds of birdwatchers running across the shingle chasing it.”

The last sighting of a crested lark in Britain was 12 years ago. The sighting before that was in Dungeness in 1975.

Source: BBC Kent News website – http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/kent/8030713.stm

Wallasea Island to be transformed with Crossrail waste material

The RSPB’s Wallasea Island Wild Coast Project is likely to go ahead after an agreement has been reached between the RSPB and Crossrail to use material excavated while digging the cross-London rail link to create the huge wildlife reserve.

Subject to a planning application made by the RSPB to Essex County Council, the project will create 150 hectares of mudflats, 190 hectares of saltmarsh, 75 hectares of shallow saltwater lagoons, and an additional raised area of saltmarsh in anticipation of future sea level rises. About eight miles of coastal walks and cycle routes will also be created as part of the scheme.

The saltmarshes, and mudflats will attract rare coastal birds such as spoonbills and black winged stilts, and potentially even Kentish plovers not seen in the UK for over 50 years.

Graham Wynne, Chief Executive of the RSPB, is quoted by Wildlife Extra:
“This is a fantastic agreement that one year ago, we could never have imagined. Wallasea will be the RSPB’s most ambitious and innovative habitat recreation scheme. It will create a huge new area for birds and other wildlife whose existing habitats are being damaged and lost because of climate change. This is a ground-breaking deal between one of the UK’s leading enterprises and an environmental charity. It is absolutely wonderful news for wildlife.”

Crossrail main works should begin in 2010, with tunnel boring starting in 2011. The RSPB’s work on Wallasea is expected to take between five and ten years.

Source: Wildlife Extra

Part of RSPB reserve to be lost to coastal erosion

The RSPB is to take radical action to save one of it’s most popular reserves from the sea.

Titchwell Marsh on the north Norfolk coast faces inundation by the North Sea and so to protect the future of the reserve the decision has been taken to allow the sea to reclaim part of the reserve in order to save the remainder. The current 30-year-old sea walls are being slowly eroded. If the waters were to break through the current defenses then the entire reserve, which is a mix of brackish and fresh water marshes and reedbed, will be lost along with the habitat for rare breeding birds like the bittern and marsh harrier.

Under the proposed scheme, the sea wall will be moved back behind the present brackish marsh, which will be allowed to return to tidal saltmarsh.

This will allow new and improved sea defences to protect the fresh water marsh and the reedbeds with their  breeding birds from the rising tides. At the same time visitor facilities will be enhanced and it is hoped the newly created saltmarsh will become a visitor attraction in its own right.

Rob Coleman, the reserve’s manager, is quoted on the news section of the RSPB website: “I know this is a huge change for Titchwell and for the very many people who share our deep love for the reserve, but the need to go ahead with this scheme was clear.

“We faced a stark choice between sacrificing the brackish marsh or losing the whole site to the sea.

“In drawing up these changes we have listened hard to local people and to visitors. As a result, the new-look site will keep and improve on all the things that make Titchwell special for them.”

RSPB website (news)