Mermaids Purses and Plastic Bottles

Yesterday the Farlington Volunteers and I completed a large spruce up of the reserve picking up all the rubbish we could find both around the reserve and down off the seawall into the harbour. Most of the usual suspects were of plastic origin, most numerous were plastic bottles and bits of polystyrene.

'Litter corner' at the entrance to the reserve (Before)

‘Litter corner’ near the entrance to the reserve (Before)

'Litter corner' at the entrance to the reserve (After)

‘Litter corner’ at the entrance to the reserve (After)

Our truck full of litter! We ended up doing two loads like this.

Our truck full of litter! We ended up doing two loads like this.

Along the way though we didn’t just find copious amount of rubbish, we also found four egg cases. From my sketchy knowledge of these they from two types of fish. The three on the left are from Ray or Skate and the one on the right is from a Smallspotted Catshark (aka Dogfish). Unfortunately I left these on the seawall and didn’t bring them back to the office for further ID – Although it could have kept our marine team busy…

Egg cases - Ray or Skate 3 on the left and Dogfish on the far right.

Egg cases – Ray or Skate 3 on the left and Catshark (Dogfish) on the far right.

The slow pace of a litter pick gives you a chance to take a good look at the reserve, which is very beneficial after the Christmas break. During the walk around there was a great selection of birds; 22 Avocet were on the Broom Channel (near the Eastern road bridge) with another 5 on Shutt lake (the channel from the lake outfall). 37 Pintail were on the lake with the usual scattering of Brent, Teal, Mallard, Common gullCoot and rather uncommonly a female Tufted duck. Looking out over the reedbed a smart looking male Marsh Harrier was busy hunting.

The Deeps full to the brim

The Deeps full to the brim

At the Point we looked out into the harbour. 5 Red-brested Merganser were busy fishing while 6 Harbour Seals were hauled out on the mud. A little further around we over looked a rather full looking Deeps, which was bustling with ducks; Shoveler, Shelduck, Wigeon, Pintail and Gadwall were all present in good numbers. On the sodden grassland Curlew, Lapwing, Black-tailed Godwit and Oystercatcher all probed the soil after a tasty meal.

Around a little further, near the blockhouse, a lightly coloured Short-eared Owl was sat on a post between the seawall and the marsh. Going beyond the Blockhouse we also saw another, although this one was slightly darker in colour.

After a good days wandering around the reserve with poised litter pickers we were treated with a complete rainbow.

Rainbow looking out towards Broadmarsh. (pot of gold located near Southmoor).

Rainbow looking out towards Broadmarsh. (pot of gold located near Southmoor….).

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2 thoughts on “Mermaids Purses and Plastic Bottles

  1. Wow look at all that rubbish, and you had 2 trucks worth, very well done all of you that done the picking, you should all be extremely proud of yourself, if you could let me know future dates I’ll happily help too, keep up the fantastic work you do up the marshes.
    Well done.
    James.

  2. Thanks for your comment James. It was certainly surprising how much littler there was when we loaded it all into the back of the truck. This was carried out with our weekly Farlington work party but if we do future ‘shore cleans’, which we will do after the last of the winter storms, I’ll be sure to spread the word.
    Many thanks,
    Rob

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