People walking the beach or through the dunes south of Lower Newton last Wednesday may well have thought they had come across a team of Santa’s little helpers – dressed as we were in our bright red coats. Perhaps Gibside management should have thought to provide us with matching bobble hats so that we could really look the part.
The Gibside Conservation Team was on its annual seaside outing to give a helping hand to the National Trust’s coastal rangers. Most of the team worked at preparing for a new fence around the ponds and bird hide. That entailed removing much of the old fence and clearing the ground of brambles and bushes. Whilst they did that, your bloggers and Terry set about unblocking a bunged up stream that drains the fields behind the nature reserve.
Severe storms combined with what was said to be the east coast of England’s worst tidal surge in 60 years had done a great deal of damage. In Norfolk, cliff-top houses collapsed into the sea, and from Kent to Yorkshire homes were flooded. North-east England didn’t suffer nearly as much. In Newcastle the River Tyne overflowed onto the Quayside, and in Northumberland the Rivers Coquet and Aln had risen enough to cause some minor flooding.
Embleton Bay and Newton Links had got off pretty lightly really. At Low Newton very little damage has been done to sand dunes: though there was some slump, it was not as much as might have been expected even from a fairly regular storm. But the tidal surge had taken a considerable quantity of marram grass - ripped from the dunes by the storm – and shoved it up our stream; hence the need to unblock it.
|Job Half Done|
Whist we worked, lapwings flapped around the nearby fields, huge numbers of golden plover took off from the rocks and whirled around up high, and honking pink-footed geese came and went accompanied by three whooper swans. A pair of stonechats hung around hoping for, and finding, easy pickings. It made a nice change from red kites.
|A Well Earned Rest|
|A Male Stonechat|
|A Very Merry Christmas to All Our Readers|