Bird Counts in the River Mersey Estuary

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Bird Counts in the River Mersey Estuary

Postby SteveMcBill on Mon Jan 24, 2011 9:04 pm

Bird Counters for the River Mersey:

The future of the Mersey Estuary's wildlife has never seemed more uncertain than it does just now with a number of schemes for generating tidal power, including an option for a full tidal barrage, currently under consideration (

In order to protect the biodiversity value of this important wetland ecosystem, we need to have as complete a picture of the wildlife in this area as possible. To this end, a number of organisations are involved in gathering the information. One of them is the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) which runs the long-standing 'Wetland Birds Survey' (WeBS). Despite the importance of the work, the BTO is struggling to get complete coverage of the Mersey Estuary for WeBS.

Many of the areas chosen need new volunteers to cover them for the WeBS counts; these include: Garston Shore, Oglet Shore, Hale Lighthouse area, Weaver Esturary, Frodsham Sludge Lagoon, Ince Bank and Manisty Bay. If you are an experienced local birder and believe that you can help, then please contact Neil Calbrade ( at the BTO. There are more details below about what is involved.

WeBS count areas in Mersey Estuary:

The 'Core Counts' consist of a single count each month on a set priority count date (a Sunday if tides allow) when all counters go out and do a co-ordinated count of the site. This co-ordination is important on an estuarine site to avoid double counting of moving birds. All waterbirds (ducks, geese, waders, herons, cormorants, rails) are counted, gulls and terns are optional but it is obviously preferred if they are counted. Volunteer counters need to be able to identify all species (depending on the size of the area, some may be fairly distant) and do a simple count of what is present. Data can then be sent to the BTO using a paper form or via WeBS Online. There's more about the methods and the survey in general on the BTO website at

Please also send your records/sightings to rECOrd, either via RODIS ( or by e-mail to Tom at the rECOrd office (

Many thanks.
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