Keep On Trucking

Got out seawatching again before work again with the calm weather. It’s genuinely always a privilege to be on the Promenade on nice spring mornings, but it was quiet initially. I was ship watching to start with as the wind farm supply boat moved across the horizon, then the Seatruck Performance came in from Warrenpoint. Hopefully it won’t be too long before I can appear on the bridge of the latter vessel doing Marinelife surveys.

In the end thought there was a decent northbound passage of Curlews. I counted 98 across several flocks, and another group passed unseen as I was under a canopy on Middle Walk so three figures on the day. Many people don’t appreciate how threatened this species is in Britain as they are still conspicuous on our estuaries. But the fact they are long lived is masking complete breeding failure in many areas and it isn’t an over exaggeration to talk about the population crashing soon if protection isn’t improved.

Today they drifted north in undulating groups, it looked as if several parties were going to land on the beach then they aborted the landing and continued north. Presumably they went into Morecambe Bay and headed inland, but I have no way of knowing. In Blackpool the wail of the seagull is the main avian soundtrack, in parts of the Bay it’s the bubbling call of the Curlew. Both could be something of the past in a few years, Herring Gulls are also declining fast.

It’s the little details that can be absorbing watching passage flocks of birds. One Curlew had a leg dangling as it flew, presumably still able to feed well enough and head off to breed In another flock a smaller bird proved to be a Bar-tailed Godwit. You often see these strangers in the midst, I wonder whether it was only along for a short ride or if it planned to head much further north with them.

A couple of Brent Geese passed close inshore as I was about to pack up, they were close enough in to see that they were of the Pale-bellied subspecies. In one sense they were the best birds in a Fylde context that I saw this morning. In another sense it was very much about the Curlews passing, a sign of spring and a warning about what we may miss out in the future.

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