River Irwell Winter Wetland Bird Blitz
The one-day survey will run along similar lines to the monthly Wetland Bird Survey (WeBS) which is organised by the British Trust for Ornithology, the Joint Nature Conservation Committee and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds. The results of the Irwell survey will be fed into the national WeBS data base and the local volunteers will be encouraged to take part in the larger national survey. A second annual survey is planned for January 2018.
The survey will focus on the catchment of the River Irwell in Greater Manchester and will help ecologists to understand changes in bird behaviour and population numbers. January’s survey will bring together experienced bird surveyors alongside volunteers from earlier ecological surveys.
This survey is led by the Greater Manchester Ecology Unit (GMEU) and is an important part of Natural Course, a 10 year initiative to improve the water environment of North West England supported by the EU LIFE programme. The participative approach of the survey will help project partners to understand the ecology and environment of the River Irwell and plan activities for the future.
Mike Beard, GMEU’s Natural Course project officer, said:
“There are important relationships between birds and ecosystems; changes in bird populations can tell a story about the overall health of the natural environment. We had a fantastic time training with the volunteers and we are really looking forward to going out onto Manchester’s Irwell River in January. The Winter Wetland Bird Blitz demonstrates the valuable role that volunteers play in gathering information and data about wildlife in an urban environment”.
Find out more about Natural Course.
Contributed by Grace Fleming
Contributed by Mark Turner
Mark Turner has over 25-years’ experience of working in the North West environment sector. Mark worked in a variety of roles at the Mersey Basin Campaign between 1993 and 2009; supporting the delivery of local projects as well as contributing to major European programmes. Mark also has experience in the climate change and rural regeneration sectors. He currently heads up the Natural Course LIFE Integrated Project team in Greater Manchester, working closely with local authorities, the Environment Agency, United Utilities, Natural England and the Rivers Trust.