Wednesday, 11 December 2013

The 'Surge' at Newbiggin

The storm surge had a huge impact on the east coast, nature reserves in many places took the biggest hit, see here for some of the pictures and stories we've been collating at BirdGuides in recent days.

Yesterday was the first real opportunity I had to get down to Newbiggin and see if there had been any impact on 'le patch'. A walk along the north bay to Beacon Point provided plenty of evidence that here too the big seas of early December 2013 have had a noticeable impact.

Over the last few years the back of the beach butting up against the ridge of land had vegetated with dock and reed mace and other weedy plants. These areas have offered a safe haven for tired migrants to drop into, a thrush here, Yellow-browed Warbler or Goldcrest there, feeding for Linnets and Goldfinches. All of this vegetation was wiped away, removed completely.

The soft soil and sand that made up the banks has eroded further inland in some cases by between 1-2m. Gone completely is every Sand Martin burrow from 2013, on the plus side the removal of the vegetation has opened up more areas for the colony to exploit come spring.
As can be seen from above the land has now retreated back and is cutting into the path in some places. Further south it is within 1.5m of the seaward facing caravans.

 A Grey Wagtail at the south end of this bay yesterday, 8 Purple Sandpipers, 60 Sanderlings, close to 200 Dunlin and 6 Grey Plovers were the avian highlights. 5-6 Rock Pipits and a much scarcer winter Meadow Pipit were also around.

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