Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Seal Pup Stranded on Westbrook Bay Beach

A grey seal pup was stranded on the sands at Westbrook Bay yesterday (Monday). Thank you to the family that reported it to the Thanet Coast Project as it meant that help could be summoned. Public and dogs were kept away to avoid stress to the pup until the British Divers Marine Animal Rescue arrived. The pup was checked and no injuries were found and it appeared reasonable healthy but tired so the decision was made to try to return it to the sea. This is a very delicate operation and can be dangerous unless you are trained. The pup was placed in a seal bag without harm or stress. Brilliant job by Suzie and John.

Despite being placed at the waters edge the pup was not playing ball. It was decided to leave it there for when the tide came in as it was away from harm. The coastal warden regularly checked during the evening until 11.45pm when it had disappeared back into the sea. It can only be assumed that it has now returned to its colony as checking all the bays this morning shows no sign of the pup.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Westbrook Coastal Walk

Distance 1 mile approx. 20 – 30 minutes.
Wheelchair accessible (Exception parts of Sunken Garden)
Well-made paths with slope to cliff top.
A combination of coast and open spaces.

Start at Barnes Westbrook Lower Promenade car park. Click on Google map in links on this blog for location. Head west along promenade towards Westgate (left if facing the sea).

At low Tide looking seaward notice the series of high and low profiles of the chalk reef. This is often covered with many varieties of seagulls and wading birds including turnstones, plovers, redshanks, curlews and oyster catchers. A cormorant often visits this bay, flocks of Brent geese and the occasional seal.

If you look back to the cliffs you will find Westbrook Town Green and Nature Park in the making. Shielded by the cliffs and free from traffic noise you may see rock pipits, pied wagtails, goldfinches, redstarts, wheatear, kestrel and other birds feeding on the grasses between the cliffs and promenade.

There are wildflowers in spring and summer. A wildflower guide has been produced; follow the link on this blog. You may have noticed bricked up openings in the cliffs; I am told these used to be gun emplacements from the last war which were accessible from the cliff top.

Half a mile on, there are some breakwaters where wading birds often roost. There is a sandy gully where sandlings normally scatter to and fro. So far this year they are conspicuous by their abscence. In autumn and winter at high tide look over the railings and you are likely to see turnstones, plovers and redshanks roosting. Please be careful not to disturb them.

Rounding the point you are entering St Mildred’s Bay there is a café if you feel like a cup of tea etc. There is also a plaque showing the location of the First World War sea plane station. Otherwise take an about turn at the car park and walk up the slope. Turn left at the top and you will see a viewpoint. You can view the coast both ways. If evening this is a lovely spot to just watch as the Sun goes down.

Now head east towards Margate along the cliff top path. There are sea views in both directions and you will have views of Margate, its harbour and the Turner Centre. Keep an eye out to sea for flocks of birds flying either east to west or west to east. You will see in the middle of the cliff top greens, a hedged enclosure. This is worth a visit as it is the famous Sunken Gardens. There is a variety of plants and garden birds to see.

We return to the cliff top path heading towards Margate returning to the car park via a slope.

This walk can be extended for another half mile continuing along the cliff top path and later the road returning to the promenade by one of the slopes or stairs. Return westwards to the car park along Westbrook bay promenade or even venture on to the lovely sands. If you look at the strand line (noticeable by a line of seaweed) you may find egg cases of dogfish and skate (mermaid’s purse), a wide variety of sea shells or even cuttlefish bones like the ones found in budgie cages. There is also a café open in the summer in case you need further sustenance. Return to the car park along the promenade or the beach at low tide.

Click on Link "Westbrook Coastal Walk" for instruction sheet.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Sun Tan in November on Planting Day?

Early morning before start.

Even the geese put in an appearance.


Gone for Tea and Cake

Young Environmentalist

Job Done

Wow weather like this was a bonus to a successful volunteer day.

Pictures above show early morning before the event and during the morning.
When you organise an event like this you do it several weeks in advance and then pray for reasonable weather. Well our prayers were well and truly answered for our volunteer planting day. Brilliant warm sunshine and clear blue skies.
Around 50 people turned out to help plant 105 saplings. The job was done by one o'clock about when the press turned up. Still we gathered us together for a photo.

It is really wonderful how events like this bring people of all ages together having lots of fun in the fresh air.

A massive thank you to Pat and John for pitching their caravan and giving us a brilliant service of tea ,coffee and cold drinks. Also for serving all those lovely cakes people had brought. Thank you all those that brought cake.

This tree pack was given to us by the Woodland Trust to mark the Queen's Diamond Jubilee next year. We even had a sapling grown from seed from the Royal Estates. It can't get much better than that. So the weather today must have been sent to us by Royal Proclamation.

Thank you Thanet District Council for cutting the grass in the week before our event to allow us to plant in grassy areas.

A massive thank you to all those volunteers that turned up to help with the planting.
Thank you also to Suzie Hooper and The Thanet Coast Project for supporting us with help and tools.

Its now over to nature and if these saplings grow we should have a very wildlife friendly nature park. If it is dry and you are going for a walk why not take some water and give our saplings a drink. Every little helps.

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Help Green Town Green

Press Release

Help us plant saplings to provide a haven for coastal wildlife for the enjoyment of all on the Westbrook Undercliffe Nature Park on Sunday 20th November 10 am to 3 pm. Meet at Barnes Car Park on the lower promenade at Westbrook.
The event is supported by Kent Wildlife Trust, Thanet Coast Project and volunteers. The Nature Park has received a free 105 wildlife tree pack from the Woodland Trust and need help in planting these. So if you can spare some time why not join them where there will be activities for all ages. Refreshments will be provided. Wear stout footwear and bring gardening gloves if you have them.
In case of bad weather phone Tony on 07890857370
This green at Westbrook was planted with shrubs and wildflowers last February. Many of these survive and the intention is to extend and replant.
Tony Sykes said “last February’s event was very successful with around 70 people turning up to help either with planting or supplying us with drinks and cake. It was great seeing the community at work creating a better environment for local people to enjoy. It proves that the community spirit still lives in Thanet.”
“Planting is a fantastic and fun way for us to do something lasting in our local area. We hope our shrubs will help attract wildlife and make a real difference to everyone who will see them. It's incredible to think that in just 5 years, our shrubs could be well established havens for birds and insects. We'd like as many people from the community to come along and help us."
This project is part of the Thanet Wildlife Project, a partnership approach to wildlife.
Link to Google map of site at the side.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Tree Pack Arrives

All systems go for planting as tree pack arrives.

Arrangements are well in hand for our volunteer day on Sunday 20th.November 10am to 3pm. Yesterday the tree pack arrived. I was surprised how small the package is to contain 105 saplings but they all look healthy and moist. I am excited about this event when we can all get together again to create something to enhance wildlife on this coastal site. Hope to see you then.