Monday, 31 January 2011

In the North-East

It didn't take long for my temporary optimism to be dissolved away. The point in the last post was that despite the well-documented threats to our wildlife, there is more and wider protection now than ever before and we should recognise that fact before considering the future.

Today, however, I spent a day off from work travelling around the north-east tip of Kent, and was appalled to find only two Sanderlings, one of my favourite species. TWO! Dos, due, deux, just a couple, a pair, TWO! There are normally between 100 and 200 around Foreness, with 50+ Ringed Plovers and at least double figure counts of Purple Sandpipers, or which there were absolutely none this time. Even the Turnstone numbers were low.

The only other interesting bird was an oiled Guillemot being chased back into the water by a dog - and there's the rub.... despite the notices, the dog-walkers keep scattering the roosts and I suppose on a Monday morning the waders haven't returned from their weekend refuges.

I went to my farm shop of choice and bought up as much fruit and veg as I could carry, in a fit of retail therapy.
Thence to Reculver, where a considerable eastward movement of divers was evident, but where there was little close in, apart from a Grey Plover on one leg.......
... and a flock of 400+ Brents that flew noisily from the fields to the sea and back again, entertaining us while we searched for three little pebble-sized, pebble-coloured birds.
When the three Shorelarks appeared, they were easy to see, but when you're trying to find them it's another matter.

The sun appeared when I got to Stodmarsh, but again all was quite quiet apart from a party doing some winter work - no complaints from me, as the efforts that these volunteers are putting in now will reap benefits in years to come.


Warren Baker said...

Just a little blip Steve, your optimism will be back soon i'm sure :-)

Lets hope Derek F. doesn't tell you off for moaning about the dogs ! ( or the dog walkers to be more accurate)

Greenie said...

Steve ,
Sounds like you had a good day on Monday too .
Have been thinking about trying for those Shore Larks at Reculver , great shot of them .
Like the composition of the 'one legged' Grey Plover .
Shame that sun didn't break through earlier .

Greater Kent Birder said...

I went up there a few days ago (mid-week) and although I saw more sandling and turnstones (~ 20 of each from memory)there were no purps or ringed plover - in fact I still haven't seen a ringed plover this year.
The dog walkers take absolutely no notice of the signs on the shellness/Pegwell/point reserve. They must see the waders at rooste and see they have flushed them unless they are totally blind. I even think the Sandwich shore larks have changed their behaviour because of them - they now seem to spend most time on the golf course.
Rant over.

Kingsdowner said...

I'll be looking forward to another visit when the migrants start arriving Warren, to see if numbers improve.
Thanks for the rant, Steve. Although Shorelarks and other Scandis are generally quite tame, it can't take long before they become conditioned to fly at the sight of dogs and humans.