Tuesday, September 7, 2010


I spent a very frustrating couple of hours this morning at Rossall Point, Fleetwood. The idea of photographing autumn waders on the beach on a fine sunny morning seemed a good one at the time; the morning started out ok but it went downhill rapidly.

As I jumped out of the car I saw Swallows moving east into the wind, not just one or two, but dozens, then almost immediately 2 Swifts came low off the sea and also headed south east. Alongside the golf course I counted about 25 Meadow Pipits, not on the move but off passage feeding between the golf course fence and the rough grass of the fairway. Also along here I counted 4 Wheatears and logged the constant stream of Swallows west to east and the mouth of the Wyre, eventually more than 250, with at one point a Sparrowhawk for company.



With a couple hours to high tide I turned my attention to the beach, and looked for a likely spot where I could merge behind one of the wooden groynes and as the tide rose, let the waders come to me.

The numbers built up as mainly 250 Ringed Plover, 400 Dunlin, 100 Sanderling and 10 or 12 Turnstones formed an ever bigger gang of hopefuls looking to rest at high tide. No chance. I am afraid that the good folk of Fleetwood seem to have absolutely nil respect for the wildlife that is on their doorstep, as one after another a procession of beachcombers, dog walkers and cyclists pushed the birds off their chosen resting places not once or twice, but dozens of times. Every time I settled down with the camera behind a groyne another grockle would appear behind me or off the top of the beach and send the poor birds off yet again.

The birds flew off over the incoming tide time after time and returned to a fresh spot only to find themselves moved off by in turn, a clown waving a bright yellow jacket, a plonker with a carrier bag trudging up and down then back along the beach, a gormless couple best described as “divis”, or a series of walkers throwing objects towards the tideline for their precious pooches, one of which was called “Sweetheart”. For f#*k’s sake woman, it’s a dog, a pet that’s all. Let’s face it; the problem is dog owners not the dogs themselves.

Maybe we will all be pleased to hear that Wyre Borough Council are to spend EU taxpayer’s money (that’s mine and yours) on a grandiose scheme for a café and information centre at the old Coastguard station here at Rossall Point. So that’s another waste of our money, more empire building, more overpaid, useless, fat arses failing to walk the talk. Because while the council like to present themselves as environmental heroes they do nothing to protect the birds here from constant harassment and some of their employees appear to have no real interest in wildlife, even less knowledge of it and apparently no desire to learn. The Rossall problem has been going on for as long as I can remember, with countless Ringed Plover nests lost over the years, but is now far worse bar the miracle of one successful pair this year. Surely the council could do something tangible and positive and put the horse before the cart by firstly spending our money on zoning and signing the beach, with clearly marked no go areas, and then use their army of overpaid litter picker/rangers to educate and inform people on the spot, but also to enforce currently ignored bye-laws, before they embark on a White Elephant that no one wants or needs?

I did get a few pictures but I am far from happy with them as everyone may have gathered. But are these birds worth protecting for the sake of upsetting a few doggie lovers and having some WBC employees do real work?

Ringed Plover




I think I might go to one of my more regular patches tomorrow.


Paco Sales said...

Bellas imagenes, las dos ultimas las encuentro muy bonitas a estas aves, un saludo

Pete Woodruff said...

An excellent post for all the wrong reasons Phil.

Makes it all the more difficult for me to maintain my 'no controversy' policy on Birds2blog which amazingly is still in tact nearly two years on. I had a 'plonker' put up c.80 waders in the Conder channel this afternoon including four Curlew Sandpipers...he may get a mention in todays post if I ever get round to doing it.

Brian Rafferty said...

Phil. Enjoyed your rant very much.Don't know what the answer is !!! Education I suppose. I can recommend the area south of Southport Pier for wader photography much too muddy for most grockles and very good for lots of waders on big tides.

Despite your frustrations you have still managed to post some very nice images. Hope to meet up sometime.

Stevie Evans ( owler ) said...

Dunlins a cracker - looks like its gonna walk right off the screen.

Stu said...

I sympathize Phil. Most people in this world are selfish idiots. Governments and other public bodies have no idea how to spend revenues wisely. Once you accept these 2 facts life is easier.

Unravel said...

I often get angry like that too Phil. In my town in Japan, the problem's not only the dog walkers, but also the people who come to collect things left at low tides like clams and seaweeds. Japanese people, especially house wives, are really serious at clam digging!

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