Greater Manchester Local Record Centre

Winter Wetland Bird Blitz

posted 25 Nov 2016, 10:38 by Carolyn Chafer   [ updated 6 Apr 2017, 11:37 ]

For further details please contact:

Subject: Winter Wetland Bird Blitz


Dear all,


I am writing to ask for your participation in an important new voluntary wetland bird survey across the River Irwell catchment within Greater Manchester.  The method will be the same as the BTO/JNCC/RSPB Wetland Bird Survey (WeBS), will use the transects that they have provided, and the data will be entered into the WeBS systems for them to use as well.  The difference is that this will be an annual ‘blitz’ rather than a monthly commitment throughout the year - trying to simultaneously cover as much of the rivers within the catchment as we can.  


This ‘Winter Wetland Bird Blitz’ will enable a more accurate snapshot count of the Irwell catchment, and give us a clearer idea of where the birds are congregating in winter.  In at least one location the catchment regularly hosts significant numbers of wintering ducks.  However, the rivers within the catchment are a dynamic environment, with both natural and man-made changes occurring, so the survey will assist us to better understand the impact that these changes have on the bird population. 


This winter the survey will take place on Saturday 21th January 2017 with training available in Salford on Saturday 17th December 2016.  There is no need to attend the training course if you are confident of your bird ID skills and knowledge of the WeBS survey method.  NB the training event might be filmed/photographed but we will be able to avoid photographing you if you wish.  For this year we have decided not to hold the count on a WeBS core count day to enable WeBS surveyors from outside the area to come and assist. 


This survey will be initiated as part of the Natural Course LIFE IP project.  Natural Course is a ground-breaking collaborative water management project which brings together the Greater Manchester Combined Authority, the Environment Agency, Natural England, United Utilities and the Rivers Trust.  My role within the project is focused upon ecological data - with volunteer assistance that will enhance community engagement with conserving the rivers.  More information is available here:

The River Irwell Catchment

For further details please contact:



Kind regards,

Mike Beard

Natural Course Project Officer

GM Local Record Centre


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