Spotted Redshank Phillip Tomkinson
....but not by the sight of the Spotted Redshank on Conder Pool yesterday, having returned to Conder Green after just 8 weeks absence, it was in the company of c.55 Redshank. Also on the pool, 2 Little Grebe in their splendid breeding plumage and a bit of a surprise on here on the first day of July, though one on here on 10 June was an even bigger surprise. I also achieved an accurate count of 12 Common Sandpiper in the creeks.
But the sole purpose of my birding yesterday was to be at Cockersands for the high tide to try to confirm a suspicion I had on Monday. I parked up at the Caravan Park and walked along the headland towards Plover Scar to be confronted by the sight of someone out on the scar with six hounds, but at least thankful that he appeared to be coming off the scar rather than just arriving there.
Walkies At Cockersands. Pete Woodruff.
I knew he would pass me on the shore as I had seen his familiar van parked up at the Caravan Park. But the worry that he had been out there on Plover Scar became an even bigger worry when twenty minutes after he left and I had had the time to look over the scar to actually confirm my suspicion.
Ringed Plover Marc Heath
On Monday I had seen a Ringed Plover on Plover Scar behaving in a way that had me thinking it had either a nest or young. It was alert, running in short bursts, looking around intently, and calling. My suspicion was pretty obvious and was confirmed yesterday afternoon when I saw two Ringed Plover adults soon followed by a chick which they followed around guarding its every move. The family soon became three when two more chicks were eventually seen.
These Ringed Plover chicks - only recently out of the nest which they soon leave to feed themselves after hatching - will need all the luck they can get for at least the coming three weeks to escape all manner of natural predation, and certainly can do without people with dogs trampling over this SSSI location.
Something really needs to be done to at least encourage people not to cause this kind of disturbance to breeding birds on the shore. But we're up against it I'm afraid, according to the conversation I had on Monday, a sign had already been erected in the area in the past, but surprise, surprise....it was vandalised the following day, probably by some irate dog owner who didn't like what it said.
So if you plan a bit of birding at Cockersands over the coming weeks, perhaps you'd like to take a look on Plover Scar to see if the Ringed Plover family have survived both the natural and avoidable unnatural dangers until they fledge hopefully by the end of the month. Meanwhile I'm going to make enquiries - again - about this problem and what we can do about it.
Thanks to Phillip and Marc for the photographs, excellent as ever and worthy of a look on 'clik the pik'.