As well as the turbine towers this windfarm had mono-piles with anemometer towers mounted on them at both the western and eastern ends of the array of turbines. The anemometer towers became a roost site for cormorants.
roosting on North Hoyle |
windfarm anemometer tower (Ivor Rees)
The accompanying photo of the western anemometer tower was taken on 26th January 2006 while benthos samples were being taken for studies on available food for common scoter in adjacent parts of Liverpool Bay. At the time there were 25 cormorants using both the platform at the top of the mono-pile and up the lattice tower. This included the series of protruding arms carrying anemometers.
North Hoyle is in the relatively shallow (<20m), southern part of Liverpool Bay towards which birds from the large colony on the Great Orme would be expected to disperse to feed. With the increasing number of energy installations in fairly shallow coastal waters it would be interesting to know if this is becoming a widespread phenomenon and whether operators take steps to discourage the birds. If un-manned towers associated with tidal turbines also become widespread, the presence of structures at sea might, by reducing the need to return to shore to roost, influence feeding range / energetic relationships in some areas.
This post was written by Ivor Rees