Thursday, 17 January 2013

Turnstones: Stand up and be counted.

Thanet Coast Wardens ready for Turnstone Count

 In February this year volunteer wardens are assisting Sandwich Bay Observatory in the count of Turnstones present on the North East Kent Coast. About 1200 of these little birds visit this part of the coast every winter.

At high tide these birds can be spotted on promenades, breakwaters and slipways usually resting/roosting until the tide goes out and they can return to feeding. During the spring many of them go to Arctic Canada to breed and return to us in the Autumn often to the same bays. It is therefore important that they feed up on our coast to allow them to build up body reserves to enable them to make this journey.

Disturbance Monitoring

During January and February wardens will also be monitoring the levels of disturbance these birds encounter which can affect their survival. This is normally due to human activity. Generally they are not affected by  people as they seem to have got used to them. Fishermen often find these cheeky birds will pinch their bait if left unattended. However dogs are a different story as these birds see them as predators similar to the Arctic Fox they encounter in Canada. It is important to monitor this in order raise awareness of this problem.

What you can do to help

If you are a dog walker please do not let your dog chase or disturb these birds causing them to take flight using valuable energy. 

The video below made by local young people explains. Please pass the message on if you want to see these lovely little birds return each year to our coast.

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