Record wildlife spot

Canal Boat - - News -

A RECORD NUM­BER Of peo­ple (866) made 4,000 recorded sight­ings to this year’s Great Na­ture Watch, launched by the Canal & River Trust six months ago.

The cam­paign this year fo­cused par­tic­u­larly on wa­ter voles, one of the coun­try’s most threat­ened species, and they turned out to be the most spot­ted with 428 recorded sight­ings across the coun­try.

The sec­ond most recorded species was the king­fisher with 180 sight­ings, fol­lowed by the heron on 167. Al­to­gether, 163 dif­fer­ence species were re­ported.

Other sig­nif­i­cant sight­ings in­cluded the num­ber of lit­tle egret recorded. This small white heron is a new phe­nom­e­non; it is a new coloniser to the UK from the Con­ti­nent, only ar­riv­ing in the late 1990s largely due to the warmer weather.

The sur­vey also showed sight­ings of sev­eral species of bird that are of con­ser­va­tion con­cern, such as the bit­tern, com­mon scoter, reed bunt­ing, yel­low wag­tail, dun­lin, lesser spot­ted wood­pecker, lin­net and marsh tit.

“This was a fan­tas­tic cit­i­zen sci­ence ex­per­i­ment,” said Mark Robin­son, CRT Na­tional Ecol­o­gist. “The high num­ber of peo­ple who took part and the ex­ten­sive num­ber of species from such a va­ri­ety of habi­tats spot­ted, demon­strates what a di­verse and ac­ces­si­ble place our wa­ter­ways are to ex­pe­ri­ence na­ture up close.

“Hav­ing re­ceived such a high num­ber of wa­ter vole sight­ings is re­ally good news and know­ing where they are dis­trib­uted is fun­da­men­tal in help­ing the Trust’s ex­perts mon­i­tor them, and main­tain and pro­tect their habi­tats to help halt their de­cline. That’s why th­ese records are so im­por­tant to the Trust for all species and we want peo­ple to con­tinue to sub­mit sight­ings.”

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