Family fun day to celebrate reserve's migratory birds

Lindisfarne National Nature Reserve (NNR) is celebrating International World Migratory Bird Day on Sunday with a family fun day.

Saturday, 7th May 2016, 9:58 am
Emma Seed - Geese over Holy Island

World Migratory Bird Day is an annual awareness-raising campaign highlighting the need for the conservation of migratory birds and their habitats.

Each year, on the second weekend in May, people around the world take action and organise public events.

Lindisfarne NNR is probably best known for its autumn/winter migration where there are thousands of geese, ducks and waders using the Reserve, making it the most important overwintering sites in the North East.

This includes light-bellied brent geese of which Lindisfarne has 50 per cent of the world’s population.

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What visitors may not know however is that in summer the reserve welcomes shorebirds such as little, arctic and common terns that follow a migration of up to 20,000 miles to reach the site to breed.

To give these birds a helping hand following their long and dangerous migration, a shorebird protection scheme runs on the reserve between May and August, where there may be access restrictions on some beaches.

Mhairi Maclauchlan, Reserve Warden, explains why World Migratory Bird day is important for the reserve.

She said: “Lindisfarne NNR at different times of the year is home to some of the UK’s most amazing species of migratory birds. It’s important to realise that birds are only playing out some of their yearly story on our shores.

“Our event is a great opportunity to tell some truly fascinating migratory bird stories happening right here on the reserve.

“We are talking about birds such as the humble swallow making a journey of thousands of miles over land and sea – its mind boggling!”

At the moment it’s a changeable time of year with numbers of geese such as light-bellied brent and pink-footed reducing as they start migrating back to their breeding grounds. There were only 35 light-bellied brent geese and 44 pink-footed geese on the reserve at the end of April.

At the same time, swallows, sand martins and terns are welcomed back, while there are many skylarks and meadow pipits breeding throughout the dunes.

Come along the Window on Wild Lindisfarne on Sunday from 10.30am to 1pm to learn more about these migrations with games and crafts for children of all ages.

This is a drop-in event so no need to book. For more information contact 01289 381470.