Saturday, 21 April 2012

Uncommon Murre.......

The quiet spring down Aldcliffe continues, persistence 24/7 looks to be the way forward! Today’s highlights, Freeman’s Pools more or less empty probably due to three tents! Track Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff, Linnet 3 and a one or two flying over. A Mistle Thrush was good to see. The marsh was also quiet mainly because of dog walkers. Another issue for us Parish birding residents to contend with, the council are trying to introduce a dogs on leads policy, the once municipal track has now been renamed a cycle track, the obvious outcome is more dog walkers blazing trails across the salt marsh and speeding groups of cyclists, 3 lots 15 or so bikes today in ten minutes and none slowed down! Tell you what think I might just stick to Skerton Weir!
All was not doom and gloom, at the picnic site I had just finished scooping half a dozen or so Eiders when Dan turned up with an entourage of enthusiastic birders which livened the place up. Immediately followed by a Guillemot spotted by Dan speeding up river with the tide. A Raven was also seen. A Meadow Pipit landed on a fence post. Plenty of Swallows passing through today, and Dan reported 2 male Wheatears and 4 Sand Martins.
Local Buzzard was on the usual fence post. 2 Red-breasted mergansers also seen on river, and a Goosander flew over. A kestrel was seen hunting by the pylon.


Pete Marsh said...

Hello Steve
I have been writing a lengthy report on intertidal issues which has addressed the problem of a significant proportion of dog-walkers treating open mudflats in the same way they treat open fields and presumably to them, a sheep-grazed saltmarsh is an 'open field' with the inconvenience of a few tidal channels

However, as part of this research I have been exercising an unruly spaniel, just to get some insight into dog-walking. Your point about the cycle track and the perception from the new labelling that "the cyclists have priority" = the green light to travel as fast as they want is completely incompatible with a responsible dog-walker using an extended lead. My experience with the spaniel also suggests that the alternative - the dog is put on a permanently shortened lead, therefore tugging and straining all the time, is not reasonable, either for the dog or the walker.

So, as you say, the obvious choice is to head for the saltmarsh.......or keep it off-lead on the cycle track

In an ideal world - and you can blame a certain individual in Natural England (when it was Englisdh Nature) for this - the worst thing which could have happened to Aldcliffe Marsh is the sheep grazing. Cattle-grazed marsh, as it was in the 1980s (and early 90s??) often leads to a muddy hoof-marked inner edge, putting off casual 'desire-line' access and at that time (as per BTO survey) Aldcliffe Marsh had one of the "highest densities of breeding waders" on any saltmarsh. Not a chance with the current grazing regime and access facilitation.


Jon Carter said...

Thanks Pete for response. The newly renamed cycle track will inevitably become a racetrack, evidenced already over the past weeks, and dog walkers exercising dogs off lead on the salt marsh. Its not too late to stop this, read here…..and write!

I am against dogs on leads, despite being chased by dogs three days on the trot this week, anything but dogs on the marsh! What is a concern are dog walkers now going onto the salt marsh past the walled meadow, where no sheep graze. And south of the picnic site, probably the best bit of salt marsh left, a proto-path exists here already!

Pete Woodruff said...

On my last visit to Cockersands the now regular 'doggie walker' - this is a business venture - was went way out into the Cocker Channel with 16 - I'll just repeat that - 16 dogs, which followed my visit here a few days earlier with 14, disturbing several thousand birds in the process....this can be stopped in a legal sense surely.