We have been commissioned by Natural England, the government’s advisor on the natural environment, to undertake an investigation into the effect of human recreational activity on bird declines on two SSSIs (Sites of Special Scientific Interest) in the Wirral.
We will be carrying out visitor surveys throughout December, January and February on areas of the Mersey and Dee estuaries. These areas support significant numbers of bird species which are of European and international importance (Natural England, 2014). Visitor surveys will focus on visitor access patterns to the area as well as the type and extent of activities they undertake during each visit. To complement the visitor surveys,we will also observe the behavioural responses of birds to a range of recreational activities and disturbances, during a series of wintering bird surveys. The species which are highlighted for this study are bar-tailed godwit, turnstone and knot.
Finally, we will also carry out a literature review of previously published reports about the area and compare the findings to our own.
Photo by Ron Knight