22 March 2014

Beached Bird Survey 2014 - Results

First of all a big thank you to all the volunteers who helped out with the Beached Bird Survey this year.  Usually I mostly receive nil returns for this survey but this year there was only one nil return - indicating the exceptional year (we hope) it has turned out to be.

As a result of my earlier post on this blog requesting help for one stretch of beach I was inundated with independent records of beached birds found on numerous Swansea beaches (the power of electronic media).  Although strictly speaking these records were outside the data collected as part of the organised Beached Bird Survey I have collated these additional records and will submit them to the RSPB as a supplementary record.  Therefore, thanks also to everyone who sent in these additional records.

In total I received records of 984 birds (I received some reports of bird numbers but no breakdown of species identification so this total includes 92 unidentified seabirds).  One thing that is quite clear is that oiling does not appear to have played any part in these figures.
I have summarised the records as a combined total of the Beached Bird Survey and the independent records.  The figures in brackets relates to the Beached Bird Survey:

Guillemot  -  331 (137)
Razorbill   -  451 (119)
Puffin        -  18 (8)
Gannet      -  3 (1)
Fulmar      -  1 (0)
Kittiwake  -  71 (37)
Herring Gull  -  8 (4)
Common Gull  - 2 (1)
GBB Gull   -  1 (1)
Unidentified Gull  - 2 (1)
Gull wings  - 2 (2)
RB Merganser  - 1 (1)
Shag            - 1 (0)
Unidentified seabirds  - 92

Rather grim reading I'm sure you'll agree and the severe weather clearly has taken its toll.  It will be interesting to see the size of the seabird colonies during the coming breeding season.

Alastair Flannagan


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