Volunteer wardens are looking forward to the return of thousands of wading birds to Wirral’s beaches from their breeding grounds inside the Arctic Circle.
In the longest running voluntary wardening scheme in Britain, wardens will be on West Kirby beach during the high tides from this September to next March, for their 29th annual season of wardening. They will be encouraging people to avoid disturbing the roosting birds on the beach and to avoid letting their dogs disturb them. They will also be showing passers-by the birds, explaining what they are, where they come from and what they are eating in the mud.
Karen Leeming, chair of the Dee Estuary Voluntary Wardens group explains:
“Wirral’s beaches are internationally recognised for their birdlife in autumn and winter. I have been a warden for twenty years and it is an immense privilege to show and excite hundreds of people each year about Wirral’s Wonderful Waders and to protect the birds from disturbance by people and their dogs. We invite anyone who would like to become involved in wildlife protection to join us on the beach – we are always looking for new wardens and you don’t need to be a bird expert, just interested in birds, willing to learn, friendly and like talking to people.”
West Kirby beach is part of the Dee Estuary Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) because of the large numbers of birds attracted to the area in autumn and winter, to feed on the rich diversity of food to be found in the mud and sand of the estuary and the beaches, most of the wading birds feeding on molluscs and worms.
The wardening scheme is administered by Wirral Council’s Coastal Rangers. To find out more, contact them at Wirral Country Park, Thurstaston: telephone (0151)648 4371.
There are around thirty Dee Estuary Voluntary Wardens. Two to four wardens are on West Kirby beach for about two to three hours around the times of the highest daylight high tides from September to March. The remit of the voluntary wardens is to:
- protect the birds by encouraging people not to disturb them and not to let their dogs disturb them
- show the birds to passers-by, sharing their excitement for the amazing wildlife spectacle
- monitor the birds, keeping records of them and of our success in protecting them.
The wardens are running a birdwatching event on Hoylake promenade on Saturday 27th September from 12 noon meeting at the bottom of Trinity Road. Everyone is invited to what promises to be a great event as the wading birds return from their breeding grounds in the north. No need to book!
Wirral Council established the voluntary wardening scheme in 1986 Its Coastal Rangers administer the scheme from Thurstaston Visitor Centre. They can be contacted on 0151 648 4371 or firstname.lastname@example.org .