By: JR Blackburn(Author), Simon J Holloway(Author), MM Rehfisch(Author)
24 pages, 2 b/w illustrations, 2 b/w maps, 1 table
Beaches at Blackpool are designated as Bathing Waters under European Community directive 76/160/EEC (The 'Bathing Waters Directive'). The Bathing Waters Directive aims to reduce the pollution of bathing water and to protect such water against fUrther deterioration. These waters have failed to comply with the imperative microbiological standards set out in the directive.
Evidence has shown that birds may be a possible source for contaminants found off the Blackpool coastline as they are known to act as carriers of Salmonella and Streptococci. Research work was carried out in 2001 (Holloway et al. 2002) to investigate the possible origin of such contaminants and has been continued in 2002. It was suspected that Starling (Sturnus vulgaris) might be a possible source of the contamination.
Anecdotal information suggested that "tens of thousands" of Starlings roosted on the piers at Blackpool in the late summer and early autumn, thereby generating considerable amounts of faecal material. Observations and data collected in 2001 confirmed that large numbers of Starlings roosted on the piers. Large, regular Starling roosts are known to damage plantation trees by either breaking small branches by the sheer weight of the roosting birds and/or smothering all the surfaces with a thick coating of uric acid, which can also kill the tree (Feare 1984). Large roosts on buildings can cause pitting of lime containing stonework, as the calcium carbonate content is dissolved by the acidic nature of the faeces.
In order to assess the significance of the roosting Starlings as a potential source of contaminants, a scaring procedure was instigated by Environment Agency to shift the Starlings from the piers. Data were collected on numbers of birds and the water quality before, during and after the scaring in order to assess the success of the operation.
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