Sunday, August 17, 2014

All's quiet...

Wall Brown
 Apart from solid lash, what could be the worst weather for an east coast birder in August? Yep, a strong westerly with bright sunshine. Still I headed out to check a few sites, just in case. Starting off at Boulmer, at high tide,  A wander around Seaton Point was borderline depressing, where the highlights were 1 Whinchat, 1 Wheatear and a scatter of waders roosting on the shore.  This area has taken a severe down turn in the last five or so years since I covered it regularly. The fields are sterile and surrounded by blue 'daleks' to feed the local 'game'. People complain about open cast sites in the county ( I was one of them) but I think it would improve things here...

Turnstones at Seaton Point
 Moving on, a short stop at Foxton for a glance down at the tide full river flood plain had 130 Curlew, 4 Common Sandpipers, a Greenshank and an unringed Little Egret.

With the morning holding little inspiration, I drove down to Hauxley Goose Sanctuary  Nature Reserve. The pool was full with no muddy margin for waders, so a check around the lushly vegetated car park had a scatter of Willow Warblers, Chiffchaffs and a Blackcap. The flowers here are still looking good with masses of Marjoram and Fleabane adding the colour. A few butterflies were around, Wall Brown, Speckled Wood and Peacock. On returning to the car a Whimbrel flew over calling.

Willow Warbler
The final stop was Amble Braid as the tide was beginning to drop back. Lots of birds were dancing around waiting for the mud to be uncovered, but there was nothing out of the ordinary. 35 Shelducks was a good count. The wind was still increasing, so I cut my losses and headed back home.

Lets hope that wind does a 180 soon...


Johnnykinson said...

In between dipping the Casp. on Thurs (got it on Sat) i was sitting in the Wader Hide at the Goose Reserve looking at the mud---less islands there wondering if the Trust has any idea what they are doing. Bragging about the new Visitor Centre (hope it's better than that Swedish Sauna that burned down) and a future circular route, part of which they cannot keep open when it rains, how about managing the habitat you already have and make it attractive to BIRDS !!! What a wasted opportunity.

Stewart said...

Its been like that for ages John, I used to go to meetings and bring up the water levels etc. I was told, at a public NWT meeting, that too many birds was confusing for the public!

I shit you not!

Alan Gilbertson said...

' People complain about open cast sites in the county ( I was one of them)'

Very surprised and very disappointed to read that, particularly when you consider the contribution that opencast mining has made to conservation on Druridge Bay.

From north to south;

Hauxley Nature Reserve, pre-planned in conjunction with NWT as part of the restoration of Radcliffe site in the late 70s- early 80s. I supervised the works to repair subsidence problems in 1981.

Druridge Bay Country Park, planned before the working of Coldrife site commenced in 1966, a country park, but also wildlife habitat unaffected by agricultural sterilisation.

East Chevington - a huge area of land that would have been restored to agriculture instead was restored to a nature reserve with input from Nick Scott who was looking for 100 acres of reedbed to encourage bittern, bearded tit and marsh harrier in the 1980s. So far two of them have bred and the other is a regular visitor.

Druridge Pools - The north lake is the only true planning accident on the bay. When the void was left in 1972 as a result of unexpected de-bulkage of the overburden being used to fill the final void north of the coal road, there was discussion over what to do with it. After some time as a landfill, it was decided that a nature reserve would be a good plan and the lake was allowed to fill. The 'Budge Fields' were named after Richard Budge of RJB Mining, who provided the equipment gratis to create the scrapes in front of the Budge Screen.

If not for opencasting the birding on Druridge Bay would be much the poorer. More recent restoration at Stobswood is providing nest sites for more uncommon birds.

Give credit where credit is due. A lot of real estate has been provided at a large cost to the provider and a minimal price to the receiver over the last 3 decades and more and yet there is still little acknowledgement of the contribution.

It's a shame.

Wild Stutton said...

I can see the management plan prescription now: "Maintain species diversity to below 10 species - big, colourful ones only".

Stewart said...

Alan - There is a petition going around at the minute against opencasting at Druridge. I have commented that the farmland is a green desert apart from the coastal strip, so opencasting might improve things! As for your comments, I agree whole heartedly!

Mark - Geese only please..

Stewart said...

Alan - Oh I forgot, yes I did complain many moons ago when I lived at Stobswood and the dust was so bad you could grind it in your teeth, and the wagons would start well before their agreed time. I must say though, they rectified things when they were made aware...