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Grimsargh Wetlands celebrates success as number of migrating birds soar

Posted on - 28th May, 2024 - 7:00am | Author - | Posted in - Grimsargh, Preston News, Preston weather, Wildlife and Conservation
Aerial shot of the three decommissioned reservoirs at Grimsargh Wetlands. Pic: Mark Ashmore.
Aerial shot of the three decommissioned reservoirs at Grimsargh Wetlands. Pic: Mark Ashmore.

Grimsargh Wetlands on Preston Road is celebrating success as the number of migrating birds has soared.

According to data from an annual Whimbrel bird count across Lancashire, organised by the RSPB, the nature reserve in Grimsargh is proving to be increasingly popular with migratory species.

Whimbrel migrate up from West Africa each year to the breeding grounds in Iceland but often stop at points across Lancashire.

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Whimbrel. Pic: Mike Fisher.
Whimbrel. Pic: Mike Fisher.

The wetlands saw 147 Whimbrel on 2 May, representing almost 10% of the overall figures for the whole of Lancashire.

In March, the number of Curlew in Grimsargh had also reached 430. 

Louise Greenwood who lives in the village and is also Reserve Manager of Martin Mere WWT said:  “I wandered down to the Wetlands at dusk and was blown away by the sheer number of Whimbrel that swooped in to roost as the evening went on. 

“Grimsargh Wetlands really has proven to be an incredibly popular location for waders including Curlew this year, as they pass through towards their breeding grounds. As a local resident and birding enthusiast, I feel very lucky to have this reserve on my doorstep.”

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Whimbrel on the wing. Pic: Gavin Thomas
Whimbrel on the wing. Pic: Gavin Thomas

The Wetlands is made of up three former United Utilities reservoirs and was designated as a Biological Heritage Site in 2016 after years of campaigning by the now Chairman of the Grimsargh Wetlands Trust, David Hindle. 

The Trust, which is run entirely by volunteers, is in charge of the conservation of the nature reserve.

Geoff Carefoot, one of the Trustees said: “Our young nature reserve is home to a stunning range of wildlife at a time of encroaching urbanism in the area, and it is incredibly important to recognise the data collected this year, which really does cement our reputation as a site of significant conservation significance.

“Together with the record number of Curlews witnessed earlier this year, we are heartened that the conservation work we have carried out since the Trust was formed in 2017, is translating into positive, tangible data.”

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Over the years, the Trust has applied for funding to deliver a range of projects with support from organisations including the Lancashire Environmental Fund, to develop the site, improve public access and enhance its appeal to a range of wildlife.

Gavin Thomas, Northern England Ecologist for the RSPB who initiated and co-ordinates the Whimbrel counts, added: “It’s fantastic to see Grimsargh Wetlands really performing now for multiple species of wading bird. I’ve worked closely with the Trust over recent years to help design and guide their brilliant conservation work. It’s heartening to see a local community coming together to take direct action for nature.”

To find out more about Grimsargh Wetlands you can visit their website

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