Reservoir beauty spot now a protected breeding ground for Black-headed Gulls (From This Is Lancashire)
Reservoir beauty spot now a protected breeding ground for Black-headed Gulls
8:53am Wednesday 17th October 2012 in News
A BEAUTY spot has become a vital breeding ground for a protected species of gulls.
Belmont Reservoir is home to one of the healthiest colonies of Black-headed Gulls, according to a new report.
There are now thousands of breeding pairs at the site.
And United Utilities, who manage the area, says Belmont Reservoir has become one of the most important breeding grounds in the UK for the Black-headed Gulls.
Conditions are now so ideal that a 2012 aerial survey found 6,370 breeding pairs.
A spokesman for United Utilities said: “The mixed habitat of heather, rush and molinia grass maintained on the reservoir island is said to create an ideal habitat for these birds — as do floating rafts on the island’s many ponds.”
The birds started arriving at the United Utilities reservoir in February last year at the beginning of the breeding season.
Clare Reed, the marine conservation officer for the RSPB North West, said the birds were flocking to the reservoir due to ideal conditions.
She added: “They prefer shallower waters inland to coastal sites and the conditions are particularly good for breeding because they are still near enough to the coast to catch marine invertebrae, but they can come back to their comfortable surroundings.”
The findings were featured in the company’s annual corporate responsibility report. Sustainability manager Gaynor Murphy said: “We also made it into the prestigious 2012 Dow Jones Sustainability World Index for the fifth year running with an even higher score than last year.
“It looked at every aspect of our work from how we treat our customers, suppliers and employees to how we work for the benefit of our communities and the environment.”