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2008-2009, Centre for Marine and Coastal Studies Ltd., (CMACS), Burbo Bank Offshore Wind Farm, Post-construction (Year 2) Ornithological Monitoring

2008-2009, Centre for Marine and Coastal Studies Ltd., (CMACS), Burbo Bank Offshore Wind Farm, Post-construction (Year 2) Ornithological Monitoring

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Birds

Description

This series presents results of surveys undertaken to monitor the effects of construction and operation of Burbo Bank Offshore Wind Farm on bird use of the local area. The results of monitoring during the second year of wind farm operation (September 2008 to April 2009) are presented here. Surveys were undertaken from a vessel which followed seven established set transects through the wind farm, buffer (edge of the wind farm) and reference areas. Two experienced ornithologists noted all bird species seen and also made observations on any marine mammals encountered. Analysis efforts are focused on four target species: common scoter, red-throated diver, cormorant and common tern. These species are important to local conservation sites such as the proposed Liverpool Bay SPA, Dee Estuary SPA and the Mersey Narrows and North Wirral Foreshore SSSI/candidate SPA. Previous reports have presented results of baseline and during construction ornithological surveys (2005/06 and 2006/07 respectively). This is the second set of post construction surveys. Five surveys were completed in 2008/2009, reflecting an agreement with statutory consultees to focus effort in months of interest (September to April). Subject to no significant adverse effects being identified there is an agreement to conclude the ornithological monitoring programme at this stage. Low numbers of birds were recorded in the survey, which continues to demonstrate that the area is not intensively used by seabirds. However, this year’s survey did provide the first evidence of birds (auks) present within the wind farm array area, assumed to be foraging. This was reflected as a shift in distribution rather than a marked change in abundance. There is no evidence from the surveys that continued operation of the wind farm has had any detectable adverse impact on local seabird use of the area.

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