Monday, 9 July 2012

An ecological disaster?

Well, apparently not. Though this weather is really getting on my tits now! The scenes around Weymouth have been quite extraordinary during the last 24 hours. The biggest disaster of course is the flooding of the Olympic park and ride drop off point. Well it is if you read the local and national papers and have seen the news coverage. How the hell can a bloody car park flooding be bigger news than a whole ecosystem being wiped out? Marsh Harriers chicks... gone. Countless Reed and Sedge Warbler nests... gone. Bearded Tit nests... gone. Thousands of inverts... gone. Reptiles and tons of small mammals... you’ve guessed it, gone.
This shot is of the concrete bridge at Radipole!

OK, this type of thing does happen from time to time and we just have ride it through and obviously the wildlife will recover eventually but it really does annoy how oblivious most of Weymouth was to the devastation unfold before their eyes.
Whilst at Lodmoor yesterday and this morning I was amazed that even birders were oblivious to the carnage right in front of them. Whilst there yesterday assessing the tern island situation (which was very bad) a birder wanders in and asked where the White-winged Black Tern was. I said that I had been counting tern chicks that were having to swim around desperately trying to find somewhere to pitch up rather than looking for the other tern. Instead of him saying something like ‘Oh God, that a disaster’ he said something along the lines of, ‘Oh, I’ll got further down the path to look for the Black Tern’. Admittedly, most birder I’m sure noticed what was going on but that just got to me!
In protest I’m not going to post a picture of the White-winged Black Tern but instead here’s a shot of some of the surviving Common Tern chicks at Lodmoor which managed to make to a bit of dry land.


  1. It was unbelievable scenes, the likes I've never seen in my 25 years in Weymouth. Agreed, it was a disaster, but it was quite unprecedented weather conditions. Arguably, one wonders what the effects would have been, had the sluices at Westham bridge been lowered to winter levels, considering the warnings given by the Met Office. Thank goodness the Lodmoor harriers got some young off. When you consider the timing of this event, it could have been a lot worse for the terns on lodmoor. Some Common Terns have moved to Abbotsbury and may well have another go, which is late I know. Let's hope the Little Terns at Ferrybridge weren't badly affected either.

  2. One would wonder about the waters levels but pretty sure it wouldn't have made much difference. When the sluices are overridden, which they were by the council, the water levels are effectively free to do what they want (as in winter) hence why it dropped so quickly but also got incredibly high due to the massive tides. Obviously if water levels were allowed to fluctuate in summer, even smaller flooding incidents would affect reed nesting species. Don't think there was anything anyone could do. But don't worry, there'll be mud soon enough matie!
    Little Terns thankfully unscathed by the whole thing though constant bad weather over last month or so has meant lots of chilled eggs. Several have fledged already though with I think seven having re-laid.
    Certainly could have been worse on Lodmoor but all looks like its settling down somewhat over there.

  3. Gutting.

    A freak of nature, at its worst.