Just past the sandy beaches at Cleveleys at the end of the new sea defences, the habitat changes to shingle – which looks hostile but is actually a rich habitat.
The top reaches of the beach between the cafe and The Venue following the inward curving coastline to Rossall School are shingle and pebble. The top reaches don’t cover at high tide and you’ll often see multiple strandlines where the different heights of tides have washed seaweed to shore.
This beach is a bird hotel, and through the year is either a home of stop off point for hundreds of sea birds, as they migrate and make their journeys backwards and forwards around the world, flying thousands of miles a year.
The Ringed Plover, right in the middle of this shot, was seen on the beach in the last week of June, looking after it’s tiny little chick. The baby and parent were calling to each other, and then the baby went underneath the warm feathers to rest. The chick had been raised on the public, pebble beach, where the tide comes in and out twice a day and dog walkers are around all the time. Surely as big an accomplishment as flying around the world!
Take your eyes off these amazing little creatures and they’ve gone. You can only really spot them when they move, or make their distinctive peeping sounds. They are superbly well camouflaged against the stones and completely blend in.
These birds fly thousands of miles each year between Greenland, Iceland, Scandinavia and South Africa – pausing at Rossall Beach to rest and refuel.
If you see flocks of birds resting on the pebbles at high tide, don’t disturb them if you can avoid it, as they are conserving vital energy for their long flights.
A series of boards are being installed at Rossall Beach so you will be able to identify the most frequently seen birds when you next visit the area.
Ringed Plover, right in the middle of the shot, spot it by the black necklace.