Strangford Lough: A Rising Tide

In 2014 the United Kingdom had the driest September since records began.  Even the first day of October was dry and sunny.  It was a good day for staying at the seaside for as long as possible, even in the face of a rising tide.

Turnstones - smug

Strangford Lough is a sea inlet in the east of Northern Ireland, with a large population of birds.  Winter brings migrating geese from Canada, so I plan to visit again soon.

But back to last week; the resident turnstones (arenaria interpres) were huddled on the rocks near Islandhill as the water rose around them.

Turnstones 7 + 7

I know this is anthropomorphizing, and I know these birds face the tides every day, but some of the turnstones did look like they were stubbornly refusing to accept that their rocky refuge would soon be underwater.

Turnstones 4 where did the rock go 2?

Most of them finally got the message.

Turnstones - 1 down 2 to go




8 Comments Add yours

  1. Andrew says:

    A friend and I watched turnstones for ages one day and all they turned over was crabs. We think they should be renamed. Did you actually see them turn any stones?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Karolyn Cooper says:

      Nope. To be fair, the tide was coming in fast, so the smart ones were standing on top of the stones instead of flipping them over for food. They’re funny little birds.

      I also saw one lone curlew, a few oystercatchers, and the beginning of the winter influx of geese. I don’t have the right camera gear for this, as the birds feed too far out on the mudflats at low tide. I would love to have a longer lens to capture them. Watch this space!


      1. Karolyn Cooper says:

        In fact, if you’ve any suggestions on cameras, or lenses for my Nikon D90, I would be delighted to hear them.


  2. Wendy Kate says:

    I bet they can float, though 😉


    1. Karolyn Cooper says:

      Float, or fly, they’re pretty safe either way. And they probably don’t shriek at the cold water reaching their bellies like humans would do.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. mihrank says:

    such beautiful post and in particular the images!!


  4. Kim in Fiji says:

    I love it …. partly because it reminds me of sea-level rise and friends on low-lying islands who are anxiously watching the shoreline. I pray all will turn out as well for them as it does for these sweet birds.


    1. Karolyn Cooper says:

      Where are your friends? In Fiji? Does Fiji have a problem with climate change and rising sea levels? I didn’t know that. I do remember reading something about Kiribati being affected by this.
      I have been diving several times with my husband in the Maldives. Every island we stayed on there was almost completely flat. It wouldn’t take much to damage those islands.


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