11 May 2012

Meaningless acronyms, No.1: SPA

Thought I'd give St. Brides another go this morning, not the highest of high tides so most of the waders should have been on, or around, the Costa del Newport. Unfortunately, a local fisherman had taken up position right in the middle of the 'beach'. As a result the birds were dispersed, with most along the rocks between the beach and the lighthouse; they were also pretty flighty, and made flightier still by flyover Kestrel and Peregrine (a Little Egret didn't help either). Finally, when they were on the deck, the westerly had them hunkering down and mostly out of sight; I probably saw less than half the birds on the deck. All in all a bit of a waste of a morning, however, as a reward for my valour and gallantry in the face of barely surmountable birding obstacles, the ornithological gods provided one Curlew Sandpiper, two Sanderling, three Turnstone, 29 Bar-tailed Godwits and 11 Whimbrel.

Having spoken to the fisherman, it is patently obvious that more needs to be done to inform the angling community, et al., about the importance and status of the estuary and its birds.  Given the local importance of the St. Brides roost, the relatively small area it occupies, and the duty imposed on public bodies to further the conservation and enhancement of sites like the Severn Estuary SPA/SSSI/Ramsar, surely something could be done to limit the disturbance caused by fishing along the short stretch between the West Usk Lighthouse and the mouth of the Ebbw.

Over to you CCW, Newport City Council, etc. Not gonna hold my breath,... might go blue.

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