I was not at Blashford today, instead I had a morning at the seaside helping out with the big beach clean, part of the Marine Conservation Society's "Beachwatch Big Weekend". We had a team of volunteers cleaning rubbish from a section at the base of Hurst Spit, roughly 200m long and either side of the shingle ridge. The object was to do more than just collect rubbish, we also recorded every piece, including the small bits, which are actually often the most dangerous to wildlife as they get mistaken for food.
It was fairly windy and rain threatened, but the task became strangely compelling. On the seaward side of the ridge the rubbish was mostly bits of nylon rope and cord, fishing line and various bit of broken plastic.
On the landward side there was a lot more miscellaneous wrappers from chocolate bars and the like, no doubt blown there by the wind and trapped in the vegetation. The overwhelming dominance of plastics of one sort or another would be a feature wherever in the world we had done this event, such is the pervasiveness and persistence of these materials. The clearing crew are pictured below at the end of the event.
It was not all rubbish though, a whinchat on the fence as I parked the car and a wheatear on the shingle ridge were both good to see. A brief look out to sea yielded a flock of about 40 gannet, a dark phase arctic skua and further out another unidentified small skua. I also found a small insect under a clump of beach vegetation, at first sight it looked like an ant, but then I could see it was a tiny wingless wasp. It appears to be a species of the Tiphiidae, small parasites which have only the males winged. Although there seem to be very few British species I cannot find enough information to identify the species.