The birds are back in town but they do need our help


This time of year thousands of birds return to the Island, many of them from the Arctic regions.

Brent Geese are the ones that often get the most attention, but Sanderlings and Ringed Plovers have been seen at Ryde and elsewhere.

They arrive tired and hungry and the Island offers nutrient-rich mudflats and beaches which are perfect landfalls where they can feed and rest. But their troubles are hardly over then, say Keep Newtown for the Birds campaigners. First they have to find the food and catch it, all the time competing with other foragers, and then they need peace and quiet to enjoy it.

KNB spokesman James Allaway, said: “Since their mealtimes are mostly at low tide there is always the risk of interruptions, so we have to remember to keep our distance,. Newtown is a case in point. The National Trust, which manages our only National Nature Reserve, has lately been encouraging more and more visitors – more than this wildlife sanctuary can sustain, and they don’t stop coming once summer’s gone.

“Major disturbance areas at Newtown are Cassies Bridge, Shalfleet Quay, Clammerkin Channel and Western Haven. All these are used by wintering wildfowl to feed and to roost at high tide – which is just when paddleboards and kayaks come out to play.

‘Fortunately many of them tend to stay at home when it’s cold and windy – but it would be good if the NT didn’t allow them on the water at all during the winter months.”