Thursday, 29 December 2011

Winter on the Coast

Brent Geese in Westbrook Bay on a dull winter's day.

Winter Wildlife Treats

Now that all the visitors have gone it is a good time to go down to our beaches and coast. Wrap up warm, check the tide and forecast. This time of the year there are exciting things to find. One example is the Brent Geese that regularly visit us from Northern Russia. Often seen flying in V formation from bay to bay and across the estuary. From time to time off Westbrook you will see in excess of a hundred of these birds feeding at the end of the chalk reef. Many thousands of these geese visit the South East each year. If Bonkers Boris' Airport is ever build these geese could pose a major threat to aircraft. Let us hope common sense prevails as an airport here would devastate wildlife in the estuary.
On the cliff tops and under cliff on some days you will see migrating birds using it as a staging post. For a feast of birds Sandwich Bay is the crème de la crème for birders but any part of our coast has its own treats.

Living on the Edge.

Wintertime can be the time to watch for incidents of nature. Recently we have had a number of seal pups beaching. In previous years we have had phenomenon like the death of thousands of Velvet Swimming Crabs.

Two years ago following a serious drop in temperature Westbrook Bay was the major disaster area and last year Walpole Bay experienced a similar incident. The conclusion is that these crabs have been living on the edge of their existence and had moved up our coasts due to warmer seas. When we had a severe drop in temperature after a number of years of warmer winters they got caught out and suffered the consequences. We cannot be certain but this is our best guess so far. If you witness a similar incident this year please contact the Thanet Coast Project.

Over the years we do witness incidents like this on the coast like the unexplained mass of starfish washed up and many years ago Walpole bay pool being awash with herring.

As Tony Beachcomber tells us the coast and beaches are full of interesting finds especially after a good blow.

So after Christmas, weather permitting, it may be a good time to get out in the fresh air with your bins and cameras and make the most of this winter wildlife wonderland.

We are all depressed by the chancellor about the economy but forget what is really important. The following is a reminder to us all what is really at stake. Put speakers on and watch it to the end. Happy New Year.

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