Wildlife Watch

I have been involved in wildlife recording and habitat management on our Kincraig estate for many years, beginning when I worked nearby on Faraday Way.  At the Customer Awards I did a brief presentation on some of the highlights from this over the last year, and these are included in this article for those who weren’t able to attend that event.

In May last year I dropped my wife off at her work at Blackpool and the Fylde College and dropped in briefly at Kincraig Lake (opposite the Spar on Kincraig Lake for those who don’t know it).  Barely fifteen feet away among the tame Mallards was a Black-necked Grebe.  This is a scarce bird nationally, and over the next week or so large numbers of birdwatchers and nature photographers came to see it.  A picture of the bird by local photographer Cliff Raby appears here:

Last August I was watching the wildlife around the lake when I happened to see an escaped Eagle Owl in the middle of the water, apparently with waterlogged wings.  Fortunately the water levels were very low, otherwise having ended up in the water it would surely have drowned.  Unfortunately it was nearing nightfall so it wasn’t possible to do anything in rescue terms overnight.

Thanks to the power of social media (in particular Bispham Chat on Facebook) we were contacted by a specialist bird of prey rescuer, lifeboatman Skip Frith.  We showed him the general area to look even though it was dark, but when he went the following morning he couldn’t see it.  I went back and it was still there, but apparently dead.  Fortunately Skip still didn’t give up and returned, and it was hanging on to life and he managed to rescue it.  Eventually Ollie (as we found out he was called) was successfully reunited with his owners after an against the odds survival.  You can find out more on this remarkable story and see video of the owl being cleaned up at https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6126277/Lifeboat-men-rescue-escaped-eagle-owl-got-stuck-mud-lake.html.

I am a member of the Friend of North Blackpool Pond Trail, the group of local people who in partnership with Groundwork help to keep Kincraig estate, neighbouring ponds and the Fylde service personnel memorial arboretum off Moor Park in tip top condition.  Unfortunately work commitments stop me getting out as often as I would like, but they do great work litter picking and doing habitat improvement works for the local wildlife including endangered newts.

If you want to get involved in keeping Kincraig estate tidy and good for wildlife you can contact them or see their events on their Facebook page.  If you are interested in the birds that turn up on Kincraig Lake the details are on the Fylde Bird Club website most days.  But above all if you live in the area why not go for an occasional walk round the lake.  You don’t need binoculars or cameras to get back to nature, just a pair of walking shoes…

Stephen Dunstan, Director of Resources, Blackpool Coastal Housing


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