Monday, 25 April 2016

Pick it up and dump it.

When you live near the sea you come across many items of plastic, fishing nets and other items of rubbish. One report I have read said that 80% of plastic discarded on land ends up in the sea.

In Shetland we have da Voar Redd Up which has just taken place, this is where 100's of local people go out and collect all types of rubbish and then end up with many bags full which are collected and disposed of by the council. Its a never ending job as wind and sea continues to dump items upon our shoreline.

Only a few weeks ago 29 Sperm Whales died and ended up on a beach in Germany , the sea in the area far too shallow to support them. When the stomach contents were analysed it was found that they had a large quantity of plastic , including car parts, plastic bags and a 13 metre long fishing net.

Remember that not long ago 5 dead Sperm Whales got washed up on the east side on England.

Its not just Whales that take in plastic, Fulmars also died as a result of taking in small plastic pieces. I remember seeing an Iceland gull pecking away at a plastic sheet, spending at least 10 mins with the object.

Gannets also seem to be drawn to collecting plastic and  fishing nets for nesting material, some get nets tangled around their legs or neck and either drowned or cannot fly. Robbie Brookes in Unst has some unusual photos of Gannets flying around with plastic bags on their heads. Any seabird can be affected and ingest plastic, so pick it up and dispose of it correctly, ever little helps

So while Shetland is a reasonably tidy place as most people as aware of the power of the wind other people in cities don't seem to care less, even though fines can be given out for littering. Bins overflow attracting vermin and gulls feed on mountains of rubbish on land fill sites. This is a global problem so everyone should make an effort to dispose of waste in the correct manner.

This weekend you could be forgiven for thinking it was winter with freezing temperatures, snow and hail. If it wasn't for Skylarks , Meadow Pipits and large numbers of colourful daffodils then I wouldn't be thinking of spring migrants.

Not that many were around, only Robin, White Wagtail and Chiffchaff on my list, but others have seen Common Crane, Gt Grey Shrike, Black Redstart, Hawfinch, Chaffinch. Other lingering winter birds have included a small number of Snow Bunting, White Billed Diver and a good count of over 650 Long Tailed duck in Unst.

A couple of very long distant photos taken in gales, snow and hail of the Hoswick Gt Grey Shrike (hence the very poor quality). At least I saw it this time, the first two attempts failed. This was a 5min view in an hour and a half. Also present, a willow Warbler and wood Pigeon

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