The stormy winter months haven't just been devastating for many people in the UK, but they have been for our seabirds too.
An arcitle on BirdGuides reveals that a survey during the weekend of 22/23rd February along the coast of the Bay of Biscay, France, showed 21,341 dead birds (mostly Puffins). On top of this, 2,784 ill birds were taken into care and fisherman were still reporting seeing carpets of dead birds floating at sea. Such disturbing news.
Along the Devon coast, Kev Rylands of the RSPB has said around 200 dead birds have been found. I know that south Dorset, particularly Chesil Cove, have had large numbers too, and Cornwall. Wales is in the same boat now also and I presume Ireland is as well. The true number of sea bird that have died, considering these numbers, and the fact most are probably still floating at sea, is scary. Must be around or above 100,000 birds surely?
Seaton beach sadly has had its share of this. Local birder Alan Bibby has found most of the birds, but I've been down a few times also keeping an eye on things. Personally I've seen 16 dead birds; 10 Guillemot, 3 Razorbill, 1 Kittiwake, 1 Great Skua and 1 Manx Shearwater. I know of a further four dead birds that have been found, including a Puffin. This selection shows how many different species have been affected.
And now, I'm afraid, some pictures...
|Sadly many of the Guillemots, like this one, were in pristine summer plumage and looked in good shape (except for being dead obviously!).
|A dead adult Kittiwake, this was the only bird I've seen with obvious oil.
|This I found the saddest sight. Great Skua's are the bullies of the sea, a proper dominate pirate species. Not this one anymore.
|A head shot of the Great Skua, such a powerdul bird.
|A Manx Shearwater (which is still in my back garden!) - we usually see these gracefully gliding just above the waves.
Hopefully my next blog post will be a bit more positive...