Sunday, 7 December 2014
Over the last two weeks I have managed to get some reasonable images of the overwintering Purple Sandpipers on the island. They tend to only turn up in accessible places here when spring tides force them off their usual haunt (a rocky island 400m off the coast), and onto the rocks near Solfach. It makes for an entertaining watch as they cling onto rocks which are rapidly being claimed by the incoming tide. Unfortunately, the numbers of this charismatic sandpiper overwintering have decreased quite substantially in the last ten years. During my first few winters on the island, it was common to see flocks of 40-odd flying around and associating with as many as 60 Turnstones. And yet in the last few winters, numbers have barely reached 30. The maximum number I have seen so far this winter has been 16.