Monday, 29 August 2011

Waders Count


Purple sandpipers

At this time of year the seabird monitoring has finished but there are still birds to count and this time its waders. Now the island doesn't look like wader country as they usually have very long bills for sticking in mud and we have lots of rock. But actually one of the many reasons while the Isle of May is legally protected for its wildlife are because 2 types of waders gather after the breeding season in important numbers. They are the turnstone and the purple sandpiper. Both actually prefer rocky ground and are specialised at picking small snails and shrimps from the seaweed and under rocks. So from July to September we try to do a number of counts to find out how many of these birds there are . The Isle of may has many rocky inlets and gullys so it takes a coordinated count from between 2-3 people to cover all of the north, east and south sides. And it is an incredibly intensive 2-3 hours where you are totally focused on what you see. As usual there is always lots to see:
You might find a gull chick eyeing you up.

You can enjoy the poo art from the kittiwake roost.

And marvel at the way the wreck of the Island has been broken down by the sea and pushed up on the rocks so that it is now just a scattered few lumps of metal.

And you get to explore lots o dark gullys where people don't normally go.

At the end of the last count we managed to find 5 different species of wader and nearly 200 birds...not bad for a lump of rock.

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