This project focuses on pink-footed geese Anser brachyrhynchus and the land used by this species across the borough of Fylde, most of which is outside the boundary of designated SPAs. This project and distribution prediction model helps to understand;
- Areas known to be used by SSSI/SPA bird populations
- Areas of suitable habitat currently not used but potentially suitable
- Areas which are unlikely to be used/are unsuitable for use.
Further work is needed to create a field level model for use across the borough of Fylde
This project has enabled a model to be created to help predict where pink-footed geese (PFG) are likely to be present outside the designated boundary (i.e. functionally linked land) in the borough of Fylde, to the east of Blackpool and to the north of Preston. The information in the report will provide more information to stakeholders about where PFG are likely to be so that developments can be focussed in areas where there are less likely to be pink-footed geese.
Specific problems encountered stemmed from the lack of robust and consistent recording of this species by the bird clubs. The records held by the bird clubs are not captured in a systematic way and do not include zero bird counts so it is difficult to determine if there are a lack of records or a lack of recording. Whilst the model that has been produced is better information that we had previously it would have been more robust if the records included in exactly which field they were recorded, what they were doing (e.g. roosting, foraging, loafing etc.), information of the type of habitat (e.g. crop/ pasture etc.) physical characteristics of the fields, disturbance activities (active bird scaring, human disturbance (e.g. dog walking/ horse back riding etc.).
Aspects that went well is that the researchers made contact directly with a number of the bird recorders from Fylde Bird Club, which helped to narrow down some of the erroneous records. The bird recorders understood the need for accurate records and showed an keen interest in being involved and having a collaborative approach to future projects such as monitoring pink-footed geese movements over the winter on a monthly basis.