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Curlew numbers rise at Grimsargh Wetlands as United Utilities to appeal council decision

Posted on - 4th April, 2016 - 12:00pm | Author - | Posted in - Grimsargh, News, Wildlife and Conservation
Curlew in flight near Preston Pic: Joe Hayhurst

Curlew in flight near Preston Pic: Joe Hayhurst

Wetlands in Grimsargh have seen a record number of roosting curlew birds this Spring.

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The land, which is due to be given over by United Utilities to the village, includes the former reservoirs.

Migrating birds have been increasingly using the protected area and Grimsargh Parish Council is lobbying to secure it as a wildlife haven.

The curlew population at Grimsargh has now grown to more than 550.

David Hindle, Preston historian, who is a regular visitor to the Wetlands said: “The charismatic curlew is a large brown wading bird with a particularly long curved bill that is well known for its evocative calls, suggesting its name, and long drawn out mournful bubbling song and display flight. Sadly this species is suffering a sudden and cataclysmic decline, mainly because of poor breeding success due to loss of habitat, disturbance and predation, and is now officially globally threatened with possible extinction unless its fortunes change dramatically.

“Two months ago it was put on the Red List of the UK and Europe’s most threatened birds because of mounting concerns for its future status. Surveys indicate that in the last 20 years the curlew had declined by fifty per cent in England and Scotland, 80 per cent in Wales and by 90 per cent in Ireland.

“This record number is unprecedented and again illustrates the importance of Grimsargh Wetlands and its potential as a nature reserve of considerable importance for Preston and indeed Northern England.”

How the Grimsargh Wetlands may look once the nature reserve is created

How the Grimsargh Wetlands may look once the nature reserve is created

In Autumn last year plans for the Wetlands, which includes building 12 homes to fund the future of the nature reserve, were rejected by Preston City Council’s planning committee. Planning officers recommendation had been to approve the plans.

United Utilities are understood to be appealing this decision, and also resubmitting their plans for the area.

Do you visit the Wetlands? What did you think of the council decision? Let us know in the comments below

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