A stone sculpture featuring migrating birds has been installed at the end of Fairlawn Road, between The Triangle and Lytham Green Promenade. Created by renowned sculptor Thompson Dagnall, the large boulder is sculpted with flying motifs of several bird species which reflect the migratory nature of the many species that visit the Ribble Estuary. The installation is accompanied by a plaque that explains the significance of the sculpture and the meaning behind it. The stone sculpture has been provided courtesy of Lytham In Bloom, joining their other artistic installations such as the bronze shrimper fountain and the clock in the herbaceous border both in Lowther Gardens.
The installation is most timely as in the coming weeks thousands of Pink-footed Geese will leave their breeding grounds on the Arctic Tundra and will arrive on the Ribble Estuary. Some will stay as winter visitors on the saltmarsh whilst others head towards East Anglia before returning in the Spring on their journey back north to Greenland, Iceland or Svalbard. Not only is the site of thousands of geese arriving spectacular, but the evocative sound adds to the atmosphere of the Ribble’s winter soundscape.
In Spring and Autumn, the Estuary hosts thousands of waders on migration as they use the Ribble to refuel and rest before heading towards their breeding grounds on the High Arctic. The journey is repeated when in autumn they return before continuing south towards the continent and into Africa.
Trevor Mackey, Chair of Lytham in Bloom, explained: ‘Over many years Lytham in Bloom have celebrated Lytham’s heritage in both permanent and floral sculptures. Notable have been many references to the shrimping industry, and the summer spectacle of the floral windmill, Clifton Square. Upon deciding on the production of a further artwork, we were again drawn to celebrate our close neighbour, the beauty and naturalness of the Ribble Estuary. We chose to highlight its rich bird life, the idea prompted by the visual and aural experience of ribbons of geese filling Lytham’s airspace, morning and evening in the winter months.”
Councillor Michael Sayward, Chair of the Tourism and Leisure Committee for Fylde Council, added: ‘We are looking forward to welcoming the latest artistic installation here in Fylde and are confident it will become as renowned as the others already here. The attention to detail by Mr Dagnall is superb and the sculpture perfectly represents the value the Ribble Estuary has on the Fylde.’
Jo Taylor, RSPB Learning and Visitor Experience Officer at RSPB Fairhaven Lake, commented, ‘The Ribble estuary is home to over a quarter of a million wading birds each winter, making it one of the most important estuarine sites in the country. The mudflats here are a veritable larder for these birds, being jam packed with vast quantities of molluscs and crustaceans. Birds such as black tailed godwit, dunlin and curlew just to name a few have their own niche within this ecosystem and they are uniquely adapted to this habitat. Many of these birds will be arriving from their breeding grounds in the Arctic Tundra, Iceland and Greenland any day now, filling the mudflats and the autumn skies. This beautiful stone carved sculpture pays homage to this perfectly, highlighting the intrinsic importance of the estuary for a wide variety of bird life and is a fitting attribute to this. How many of the birds featured in the carving will you find out there?’
The featured photograph shows Cllr Michael Sayward, Cllr Ray Thomas, Cllr Tim Ashton, Trevor Mackey Chair of Lytham in Bloom and the volunteers of Lytham In Bloom and the new stone sculpture.