(Above) Litter on Chesil Beach © Charlotte Bolton (Below) Rescued Fulmar sat in the Chesil office preening while it
was waiting to be collected for rehabilitation © Angela Thomas, Flooding at Lower Bockhampton & River Frome
flooding from Poundbury Fort, Dorchester. Both © Sally Welbourn
Dorset Wildlife Trust (DWT) is concerned about how wildlife in Dorset will be affected by the severe winds, rain and high tides that have battered the coastline in recent weeks.
After braving strong winds and enormous waves, exhausted and distressed seabirds such as the Razorbill, Fulmar and Shag have been found stranded on Chesil Beach and at Kimmeridge in Dorset.
DWT’s Marine Awareness Officer, Julie Hatcher said, “The weather conditions will make it hard for birds that live and feed around the coast, and there’s a risk they could become weak from not being able to feed properly. The biggest concern is that seabirds will become dehydrated, as their intake of water comes from the food they eat. We are encouraging members of the public who come across an injured bird to phone the RSPCA for assistance.”
Litter a problem too
There is also concern that the repeated storms are washing up considerable amounts of litter onto Dorset’s beaches, and DWT will be running various beach clean events to try and combat the litter.
Marc Smith, Fine Foundation Chesil Beach Centre officer said, “Litter such as plastic bags, drinks cans and glass can be deadly to wildlife. The waves have been coming over the top of the pebble bank at Chesil Beach, and whilst some of the litter churned up will go back into the sea, Chesil Beach is 18 miles long, which is potentially a lot of litter! Our main concern is for animals getting entangled in plastic or ingesting litter.”
Burst rivers causing mixed results for wildlife
Persistent rain has also caused rivers such as the Frome & Stour to burst their banks, which will have mixed results for wildlife.
DWT’s Dorset Wild Rivers Project Coordinator, Sarah Williams said, “High flowing rivers will allow migratory species such as salmon to swim further up the river to breed, which will mean good news for breeding numbers, as long as the their nests do not get damaged by the flows. Wildfowl and wading birds will also enjoy feeding on larger wetland areas, where they will find fish and invertebrates near the surface.
Wildlife needs space to move away from the flood and natural floodplains do provide some relief but it is particularly important for water voles to be able to move away from the main flood water. The population of water voles this year will indicate how badly this flooding has affected them.”
Dorset Wildlife Trust advises the public not to approach birds and litter along the coastline unless it is safe to do so.
Keep an eye on our events page as we add beach clean events.
To report an injured or distressed animal please contact the RSPCA on 0300 1234 999.
Notes to Editor
For more information please contact Sally Welbourn at Dorset Wildlife Trust on 01305 264620.
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Dorset Wildlife Trust works to champion wildlife and natural places, to engage and inspire people and to promote sustainable living. Founded in 1961, DWT is now the largest voluntary nature conservation organisation in Dorset, with over 25,000 members and over 40 nature reserves. Most are open daily and there are visitor centres providing a wealth of wildlife information at Brooklands Farm, Lorton Meadows, Kingcombe Meadows and Brownsea Island Nature Reserves, The Purbeck Marine Wildlife Reserve and the Urban Wildlife Centre at Upton Heath Nature Reserve. DWT plays a key role in dealing with local environmental issues and leads the way in establishing the practices of sustainable development and engaging new audiences in conservation, particularly in the urban areas.
The Fine Foundation Chesil Beach Centre is owned by Weymouth & Portland Borough Council and leased to Dorset Wildlife Trust who run the Centre on behalf of a partnership including the Chesil Bank and the Fleet Nature Reserve and the Jurassic Coast Team, with the continued help of local volunteers. The building of the new centre and boardwalk was made possible by funding from a wide range of organisations, including the Heritage Lottery Fund, The Crown Estate and Court Leet of the Island and Royal Manor of Portland, the Fine Family Foundation, Weymouth and Portland Borough Council, Dorset County Council, the Garfield Weston Foundation, Dorset Wildlife Trust, Chalk and Cheese and the Jurassic Coast Trust.
The Heritage Lottery Fund. Using money raised through the National Lottery, the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) sustains and transforms a wide range of heritage for present and future generations to take part in, learn from and enjoy. From museums, parks and historic places to archaeology, natural environment and cultural traditions, we invest in every part of our diverse heritage. HLF has supported more than 26,000 projects, allocating over £4 billion across the UK. This includes over £411 million to more than 2,600 projects across the South West. Website: www.hlf.org.uk.