Posted: 07/10/2011 09:41:20 by Nigel Nixon

POTENTIALLY deadly blue-green algae has been found on Windermere.

The Environment Agency says it has found evidence of an algal bloom at Low Wray Bay, prompting South Lakeland District Council to issue a warning.

The authority said anyone using lakes, rivers and reservoirs should treat all blue-green algae blooms with caution and contact should be avoided as skin rashes and illness may occur if the water is swallowed.

Farmers and pet owners should also prevent livestock and animals coming into contact or drinking the affected water, as it can sometimes prove fatal for animals.

SLDC’s environmental health team leader, Tracy Howard, said: “Blue-green algae can potentially make people feel quite ill if swallowed or even by just swimming in it.

"We just want people to be aware of the affects and are asking people to be extra careful and vigilant when using the lakes and rivers for recreational purposes during the summer months.

"The public should observe any notices near affected areas and avoid contact or drinking the water.”

Many waters are vulnerable to problems with the algae, typically between June and November.

Experts say all blue-green algal blooms should be assumed to be toxic.

The blooms vary in colour from discoloured green, blue-green, greenish brown, or reddish brown.

Further information about blue-green algae can be found on the Environment Agency’s website at www.environment-agency.gov.uk

Tagged with: windermere, algae


Posted: 15/04/2011 16:25:53 by Anne-Marie O'Neill

TWO thirds of the red kites released in Grizedale Forest last summer have survived the harsh winter.

Wildlife rangers believe that around 20 of the 30 birds released in the Forestry Commission’s three-year re-introduction programme made it through the winter and are still in Cumbria, or nearby counties. Between five and eight of the birds are believed to be living around Grizedale and the Rusland Valley, with another three to five inhabiting the Kirkby Moor area near Ulverston.

Four more Grizedale red kites have been spotted by RSPB experts at feeding stations in Dumfries and Galloway – the furthest known movement is by the bird tagged as number four, which has flown 120km north west into Scotland.

“The birds are doing pretty much exactly as we expected, which is very encouraging,” said Iain Yoxall, Forestry Commission wildlife ranger. “We are more confident that these birds will make it to adults now they have made it through a harsh winter. Sadly we lost a few birds but that is natural and why we have to release the numbers that we did.”

The 30 red kites released from a secret location in Grizedale Forest in August last year had coloured tags on each wing. An orange tag on their left wing shows they are from Grizedale, and blue tags on their right wings indicate that they were released in 2010. Some birds were also fitted with radio transmitters to help with monitoring.

Mr Yoxall, who has been following the birds’ movements around Cumbria, said the help he has received from the public had been invaluable. “I have been radio tracking the birds but sightings from members of the public have been a fantastic help and greatly appreciated. This has been very important because it helps us find the birds and backs up our radio tracking results to give us a more robust picture of their movements. We hope that the public will continue letting us know when and where they make sightings of the red kites.”

This year’s birds will hatch in May and are likely to be released into Grizedale Forest in August. The red kites being introduced into Grizedale are the product of a reintroduction programme that took place in Northamptonshire in the 1980s.

Red kites were almost eradicated from the UK following changes in farming practices and human persecution between the 16th and 19th centuries. But they managed to cling on in Wales, and their numbers recovered slowly thanks to the actions of local conservationists



Posted: 07/04/2011 16:09:02 by Anne-Marie O'Neill

A PAIR of ospreys have returned to their nesting site in the Lake District. The birds are back at Bassenthwaite Lake - 10 years after the first male osprey chose the area for a nesting site.The bird, known as No Ring, was the first to nest in the Lakes for 150 years. Experts say he has returned with the female he paired up with for the first time in 2007.

It is hoped the birds will rear an 11th generation of young after two male chicks were produced last year.

Graeme Prest of the Lake District Osprey Project said: "It is wonderful news that the ospreys have returned for another season and have already mated. With a bit of luck, the female will be laying her eggs soon.”

Almost 100 people are part of a volunteer project to provide 24-hour observation on the nest. They also engage with the public about ospreys at the Dodd Wood viewpoint and Whinlatter Visitor Centre.

The public Osprey Viewpoint at Dodd Wood, near Keswick, has been opened and telescopes are being provided to see the birds.

Live images from the nest are also being beamed to a big screen at the nearby Whinlatter visitor centre. The osprey project is managed by a partnership of the Forestry Commission, Lake District National Park Authority and the RSPB.



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