Project : Estuarine foreshore wintering bird monitoring
The Bristol Port Company
Royal Portbury and Avonmouth Docks lie adjacent to the Severn Estuary, which is designated for its bird interest as a Special Protection Area (SPA) under the EC Habitats Directive, as a Ramsar site and as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).
Landmark has undertaken regular surveys of estuarine (shoreline and intertidal) habitats for the Bristol Port Company since 1995. The entire coastline within the Port Estate is regularly surveyed, as well as a significant section of the River Avon. The total survey area is divided into smaller count sectors to allow comparative assessments to be made and preferential feeding and roosting areas to be identified. Surveys are stratified to account for different tidal states (low tide and high tide) and cycles (spring and neap). Since 2008/09, sector boundaries and count dates have been synchronised with, and data supplied to, the national (WeBS) counting scheme.
Recent developments in survey methods include an increase in seasonal coverage to include the spring and autumn passage periods and “through the tide” as well as spot counts. Surveys are undertaken by experienced surveyors using high quality optical aids, including tripod-mounted telescopes. All counts are entered into a database, to facilitate quantitative analysis and presentation of the data.
Data gathered from regular monitoring provides a cost effective baseline for long term monitoring. This is a significant tool to identify and avoid operational impacts of port activities on the Severn Estuary designated sites, and to inform future development plans.