Thursday, 12 November 2015

A Swell Morning

After the winds of late there was only one thing to do this morning in the forecast clearer and drier conditions and that was have a look on the sea. Over the past few days it has been pretty windy but it has been the lack of visibility with the driving rain that has been the problem. This morning I had 2 oktas cloud cover with a 10- 15 mph southerly wind. The visibility was better, though not brilliant, and the swell made it tricky viewing birds on the sea.

There was actually some vis this morning as it was the first decent window for some time and again high flying continental Chaffinches were a feature of the morning. On vis I had 32 Chaffinches, eight Linnets (all coming in off the sea), a Brambling, 137 Starlings (37 'in-off'), ten Meadow Pipits (8 in-off), a Rock Pipit (in-off) and two Skylarks.

A few waders gathered as the tide ran in and I had 191 Sanderlings, 67 Oystercatchers, two Curlews, 101 Turnstones and 15 Ringed Plovers.

It's a wonder there are any birds on the shore at all with the disturbance they receive from dog walkers. This morning there was a male Eider on the beach and an ignorant, and obviously unintelligent, woman was walking a Labrador and her stupid pooch started to chase the Eider. The Eider headed for the sea and the stupid dog was dancing round it and making grabs for it. What did the intellectually challenged female toss pot do?; she just watched and let her dog harass the poor Eider. The Eider made it to the sea and the dog went in after it. Once the Eider was in deeper water it had no problem escaping from the thick dog and it kept diving and then surfacing away from it. As the Eider went further out the the dog swam after it. I was starting to hope that the fast moving tide would carry the dog out into the bay as it would have served its stupid owner right. Eventually the dog gave up on the Eider and swam back to shore and the idiotic woman and her pooch proceeded to walk along the beach flushing the roosting waders!

From a negative aspect of the morning to a positive sea related one there was a bit of movement on the sea this morning in the form of 46 Common Scoters, five Kittiwakes, three Eiders (including the beleagured male), seven Red-breasted Mergansers, 29 Little Gulls, two Auk sp. and a Great Crest Grebe.  

The forecast is looking grim for the next few days and it will be challenging when out birding to say the least. I've got to go to my feeding station at the water treatment works tomorrow morning but it will literally be a splash and dash!


Derrick Corney said...

Dear Hairy Birder.

Do you not think that word with the women dog walker about the wildlife would be better than going on about her she properly does not know the problems she is causing. Not every on is wildlife literate.

I read your blog every day as I am disabled and can not get out to pursue my hobby of bird photography ,please keep up the good work.

Regards Derrick

The Hairy Birder said...

Hello Derrick,

You make a good point and I must admit I did think about trying to have a word with her. I have tried to chat to some of the dog walkers that have been disturbing the wader roost in the past and I have to admit I have given up trying. At worst I have been told where to go and at best I must admit some have been lovely and hadn't realised that they were causing such a disturbance. Probably the commonest response has been somewhere inbetween with the dog walkers saying that they aren't doing anything wrong and that they can walk their dog wherever they like!

The problem is that they are right. However, all we ask is that they keep their dogs off a small section of beach where the waders roost and they can't even do that. What makes it worse is the fact that the Wyre Borough Council Rangers that patrol the beach and man the observation tower don't do anything about the disturbance either. This section of shoreline is part of a SSSI and I imagine 'disturbance' is one of the damaging factors listed as part of the citation, so it might be that the local authority have a legal duty to protect the site from disturbance; I must check that out!

Thanks for reading my blog and the next time I see a dog walker causing some disturbance I might just pause for thought!