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PostPosted: Mon Feb 20, 2017 10:03 pm 
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Lincs Bird Club Member
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Joined: Wed Dec 29, 2004 8:12 pm
Posts: 620
Location: Louth
The BTO has been conducting annual heron surveys in Lincolnshire since the 1920s. These have involved identifying all colonies and the number of occupied nests in each. The number of pairs of herons in Lincs during the 20th century peaked in the early 1990s at around 366 pairs per year. More recently we have averaged around 208 pairs per year so in the last 25 years our population has dropped by over 40%. There are two immediate questions that arise. Are we sure we have identified all the colonies in Lincs at the current time and if so why has the decline occurred?

It is interesting that most of the decline can be accounted for by events at three large heronrys over the period. Legbourne Wood has completely gone and previously large colonies at Troy Wood near Coningsby and The Mere, Deeping St James have dwindled to single figures of pairs.

Barrie Wilkinson who has organised the survey in Lincs for thirty years believes it is possible that there may be an unidentified heronry somewhere along the marsh edge between Louth and Alford. We are organising a survey to see if we can find any evidence of it this spring. We hope to have a number of observers carrying out simultaneous vantage point surveys on 1st and 8th April to look for herons and see where they are going. If you can't take part on those dates any observations between these dates would be helpful. If you can help in any way please contact me, Phil Espin on pmjespin@gmail.com or 07966 325380 and I will send you details of the survey methodology and a recording form. Nil observations will be as helpful as those of birds.

As to the why? We don't know. If anyone has any theories please share here. If you have knowledge of any heronrys not listed in the 2014 Lincs Bird Report, please contact me direct.

Finally I'd like to thank Barrie and his network of observers (many of them LBC members) for sharing all their data with LBC annually. It is their hard work that makes the Grey Heron and Little Egret entrys in the Lincs Bird report so interesting.


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