Sanderling Citizen Science

Just to be clear, this is about people studying shorebirds, not a surreal Sanderling society where small, dumpy birds study the humans on a day out at the beach…

…So anyway, the other day I was at the beach.  I was at Dungeness with my telescope on the lookout for terns using the area as a fishing ground as part of my summer contract of tern monitoring.  But as its near the end of a pretty dismal breeding season in Sussex, there weren’t too many terns.  Instead I was drawn to some small shorebirds running along the water’s edge looking for food.  They were Sanderling and the very first one I saw happened to be colour ringed!

Sanderling

A pretty poor image but not bad for a phone down a dirty scope when Sanderlings never stand still!

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Finding Somewhere Special

In the last few weeks before leaving the island, Teresa and I took the opportunity to walk the routes that you just can’t get to during the breeding season on Skokholm.  This photo was taken from a spot that is full of hundreds of Puffin and Manx Shearwaters during the summer months, and even out of season I had to be careful with burrows but it was worth it for this view- it sums up why I love the place.

where's your favourite place?

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Shroomz!

Mushrooms are something I don’t know too much about, I learnt plenty about their general biology at uni and at home but I have never known more than a handful to identify to species level.  However, it is one of the few groups that I feel OK leaving at that level and just enjoy looking at them without thinking any harder about identifying them.  But in general I do find them pretty amazing- a group of organisms completely different to plants and animals at the cellular level, vital to our ecosystem for their role in the break down of organic matter and on top of all that some fascinatingly beautiful structures which are flourishing all over the place in this damp autumn of ours!  This large parasol type was on North Plain of Skokholm and was one of the few to survive the strong winds out their.  I intend in the next few weeks to get some more shots of Sussex fungi, hopefully some nice macro shots of their bizarre structures.