Remembrance Day for Lost Species 2022

Documentation

A small group of us met for a Community Walk on Wardie Bay by Granton Harbour, and walked along the coast in the direction of the Forth Bridges. We slid on the ice as far as the Boardwalk Beach Club and then headed inland to Lauriston Farm.

Silverknowes coastal walk – taken a week earlier

We were scanning for eider, curlew and oystercatchers, birds which are all currently on the RSPB Amber List because they are under threat from ocean pollution and decrease in habitat and safe feeding grounds.

The second in my series of 30×30 Biodiversity (pen and ink on watercolour paper)

The UK’s breeding curlew population has halved in the last 25 years.

https://www.gwct.org.uk/action-for-curlew/about-curlew/
While we waited, I spent a considerable time removing this yellow fishing net which had become entangled with the seaweed on the beach
Straightaway, we spotted a few oystercatchers foraging on the Eastern breakwater with their red-orange bills and distinctive Balenciaga colouring. Unfortunately my phone camera cannot take good photos at a distance

Dogs were chasing the waders and we talked about how much energy the birds expend escaping them, energy they cannot afford to use up when the ground is frozen at this time of year and short daylight hours are filled with finding food.

The walk had to be cancelled the week before on account of the snow. This Saturday it was icy underfoot. Kim, Ewan and Jennifer

There were eider ducks floating, thank goodness, plus cormorants and herring gull, redshank, guillemot and turnstones, great crested grebe, mergansers, and grey plover.

Another poor quality long-distance shot, but I managed to capture the cormorant skimming away from the rock it had been sunning on
By the time we reached hot chocolate heaven with cold hands and full bladders, the rain was coming on and we admired the rainbow beside Cramond Island
As we walked inland, we spotted a kestral hovering with wings spread, listening to something it had spotted, plummeting, and then sitting in a tree nearby, perhaps digesting
Lauriston Farm have recently fenced off their lower field so that migrators can overwinter there safely – commendable work that will benefit us all. Jennifer, Ewan and Kim, trusty fellow walkers

Other sightings: crows, robins, magpies, blackbirds, fieldfare, a heron, and a flock of linnets.

Lauriston Farm

Lauriston Farm, higher up, offers a glorious view of the Fife hills. We stopped to chat with Toni, one of the tireless team who run it, and Bob, a local birder who said the curlew “are definitely coming back”. Not ten minutes later as we walked to the bus stop, he was proved right. By the road was a group wandering and feeding, and again, taking off when they were disturbed, needlessly, by a jogger who ran through their midst.

Back at Granton Harbour: swans at dusk

Remembrance Day for Lost Species

A community walk along the edge of the Firth of Forth to look for eider ducks, oyster catchers and curlew which are all on the RSPB amber list.

Why we walked

Remembrance Day for Lost Species, November 30th, is a chance each year to explore the stories of extinct and critically endangered species, cultures, lifeways, and ecological communities. 

Whilst emphasising that these losses are rooted in violent and discriminatory governing practices, the day provides an opportunity for participants to make or renew commitments to all who remain, and to develop creative and practical solutions. 

Remembrance Day for Lost Species honours diverse experiences and practices associated with enduring and witnessing the loss of cultural and biological diversity

Remembrance Day for Lost Species website

Where and When?

Saturday December 17th 1-3pm 2022

Starting at the end of the Eastern Breakwater at Granton Harbour and walking along through the industrial area between Granton Square and the end of the Silverknowes walkway, continuing along the front, then turning inland to Lauriston Farm.

View from Lauriston Farm across to Fife – the end point for the walk

Lauriston Farm

Lauriston Farm write: “The north section of the farm is dedicated to habitat creation for coastal birds – we’re working to create the right conditions to encourage curlews and other wading and coastal wintering birds to return to the farm so they can find undisturbed areas to roost and feed. We have also seen a family of grey partridge (a red listed species) on the farm this year, and our work to create meadows, wetlands, hedgerows, field crops and tree lines plus a mixed management regime on grasslands will support this species as well as the curlews and other coastal birds.

The message we really want to get across is that we encourage and support people to visit and go for walks on Lauriston Farm *and* we really need visitors to help protect the north and middle field as a habitat for these endangered bird species. We ask all visitors to stay away from the north and middle fields, and to keep dogs away from those fields (look out for the maps on the farm that show the protected areas) so that the birds are not disturbed. We maintain a large area of grass to the east of the market garden to give space for dogs to play away from the north fields.

Lauriston Farm is a project on iNaturalist (an international citizen science project) and we would love visitors to report anybird sightings on the app – more details here: https://www.lauristonfarm.scot/posts/180″

dav

Level of difficulty

A relaxed and easy walk (flat until the last part – a gentle slope up to the farm).

What to bring / wear

Bring a flask and snack if you like – there are picnic benches – binoculars, and wear suitable clothing / footwear for the December Scottish weather. It will be mostly tarmac underfoot throughout.

Note

Please note that this is not a circular walk.

We are going to be looking for curlew, oystercatchers and eider ducks. Note: although these are curlew and oystercatchers, I could not find an eider duck so this is a guillemot 😦