20th February 2020 – early rain clearing to showers WNW6/7/8
A check over the sea as the rain cleared (1015-1115) produced just 7 Common Scoter, 2 Red-breasted Merganser and a Razorbill.
A forest of signposts and kissing gates have recently appeared across the island proclaiming the opening of the Walney section of the England Coastal Way which along with the recent designation of the salt marshes along the eastern shore as open access land is likely to have a pronounced detrimental affect on the island’s breeding and roosting waders. Walney’s beaches have long been thought of as a stronghold for breeding species such as Oystercatcher and Ringed Plover; however this is no longer the case with 2019 survey work showing that large swathes of the coastline are now devoid of breeding birds with disturbance considered the main cause. The opening up of sections of the island which still held breeding birds and were, until now, less frequently disturbed has already seen an increase in footfall and will inevitably add to disturbance levels meaning that increased pressures are being placed on the island’s birds. In addition, the narrow and linear nature of the shoreline means that birds attempting to roost over the tide will also be regularly disturbed in areas which were until now a high tide refuge.