Curlew 1

Those of you who follow the Grimsargh Wetlands Facebook Page (and we heartily recommend it to everyone) will already be aware that this year there has been a truly remarkable influx of Curlew onto the site. This species of bird has suffered a dramatic decline in numbers in Britain over recent years – which makes it all the more impressive that there was a count of over 500 of the birds earlier this month (March 2016) on the Wetlands. See below an article from David Hindle, local author and naturalist, together with some links to press articles on the decline of the Curlew.

This all adds to the many reasons why it is so important to us to secure the protection of this site in perpetuity.

We were bitterly disappointed when Preston City Council’s Planning Committee rejected the proposal by United Utilities (UU) last Autumn – that would have resulted in the Wetlands being handed over to Grimsargh Parish Council to develop as a Nature Reserve. In return UU were to sell a portion of land fronting Preston Road for building 12 houses. They were also going to give us a substantial dowry to put towards immediate essential works on the site, and future maintenance.

We do now know that UU have appealed against the refusal and this will be dealt with by the Planning Inspectorate based at Bristol in due course.  They have also re-submitted their planning application to Preston City Council for re-consideration.

We will publicise the planning application number just as soon as we know it. If you are as keen as we are, to see the Grimargh Wetlands protected for the future generations, then we hope that you will write to Preston City Council supporting the proposal.

Watch this space…….you will have your chance to support this wonderful asset for our Village and beyond……

 

Article by David Hindle:

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, eighty per cent in Wales and by 90 per cent in Ireland.

During winter it haunts the tidal mudflats of the North West coast and during the spring moves to lowland meadows and the upland areas of Bowland (the latter a crucial breeding site in Britain) to nest. Grimsargh Wetlands is a particularly important as a safe resting and roosting habitat for this species during the spring and early summer months. Local surveys are currently being carried out by myself on behalf of the RSPB with a particular focus on important roosting sites for the species) and have yielded significant results for Grimsargh Wetlands. For example the following emails show a staggering 540 curlew roosting on No 2 Wetland at 0645hrs on Monday, 29th March, 2016. 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.

Recent press articles:

http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/nature-studies-if-we-lose-the-curlew-we-lose-the-sound-of-the-british-wilderness-a6889956.html

http://www.bto.org/news-events/press-releases/curlews-and-other-upland-birds-are-decline

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/dec/03/more-than-a-quarter-of-uk-birds-are-fighting-for-survival

Listen to the evocative cry of these wonderful birds:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-EBjUVhw3NQ

Curlew 2