Report 576
An assessment of the numbers and distributions of wintering waterbirds and seabirds in Liverpool Bay/Bae Lerpwl area of search
(2015)
Lawson, J., Kober, K., Win, I., Allcock, Z., Black, J., Reid, J.B., Way, L. & O’Brien, S.H.
The aim of this report is to provide Natural England and Natural Resources Wales with the evidence needed to form its advice to Government on possible additional features or updates for the SPA classified in Liverpool Bay/Bae Lerpwl. The report presents the numbers of wintering aggregations of inshore waterbirds and indicates if species exceed their respective population thresholds under the UK SPA Selection Guidelines within the area of search.
 

Introduction

 

In 1979, the European Commission adopted the European Council (EC) Directive on the conservation of wild birds, commonly known as the Birds Directive (EC 2009; codified version). It requires Member States to classify the “most suitable territories” in number and size as Special Protection Areas (SPAs) for species listed on Annex I of the Directive and regularly occurring migratory species.

The UK SPA selection guidelines for the identification of SPAs advise that sites should be identified in two stages (Stroud et al 2001). While Stage 1 identifies areas that are likely to qualify for SPA status, Stage 2 further considers these areas to select the most suitable areas in number and size for SPA classification.

Previous analyses of data on the number of waterbird and seabirds within Liverpool Bay/Bae Lerpwl identified red-throated diver (Gavia stellata), common scoter (Melanitta nigra) and an assemblage of >20,000 waterbirds to be regularly occurring in numbers that exceeded the thresholds under the UK SPA Selection Guidelines. These features are protected within the Liverpool Bay/Bae Lerpwl SPA classified in 2010 (Webb et al 2006a, 2006b).

These previous analyses also indicated additional species may occur in numbers that exceed the SPA thresholds, but the data available at the time were insufficient to determine this. Further data collection was therefore required for some seabird species (e.g. little gull Hydrocoloeus minutus) to determine whether these birds use the area in important numbers on a regular basis. For other waterbird species it could not be determined whether the birds were using the SPA or the coastal areas immediately adjacent to it.

 
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ISSN 0963-8901
 
Please cite as: Lawson, J., Kober, K., Win, I., Allcock, Z., Black, J., Reid, J.B., Way, L. & O’Brien, S.H., (2015), An assessment of the numbers and distributions of wintering waterbirds and seabirds in Liverpool Bay/Bae Lerpwl area of search, JNCC Report 576, ISSN 0963-8901