18 Jul 2023
This week our rangers have been getting involved with our exciting summer activities including shorewatch and wildlife tours. There has also been a lot of work going on behind the scenes to keep our lobster hatchery up and running. Find out more below about what the team has been up to in week 6.
Rangers on Patrol
We kicked off our week with some marine-monitoring at Coldingham beach. Our three rangers, led by Alex, took to our Coldingham intertidal surveys to collect substrate and species data. This is completed at least four times per year (at each site) with the purpose of monitoring our marine intertidal habitat over each season for changes in health and or system characteristics. Our data, collected over years, is also capable of showing such changes over greater lengths of time.
What better way to spend a sunny afternoon, and a great way for our rangers to run through the specifics of our site transects before leading them with our volunteers over the summer!
If you’re interested in attending our intertidal surveys, keep an eye out on our socials for announcements or feel free to contact/sign up by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Wednesday morning Finlay headed down to Coldingham bay on a flat calm day to carry out Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WDC) Shorewatches. Before the survey had even started a pod of Bottlenose dolphins sneakily made their way toward the bay. As the first survey began the dolphins returned and were joined by the largest marine mammal we regularly see on the reserve, a Minke whale. Throughout the hour and a half and the next two surveys Finlay performed, the Minke remained, gliding gracefully through the water, heading from spot to spot in order to feed. Minke’s were present throughout the reserve all of Wednesday, being spotted also in Eyemouth, and in St Abbs.
You can also try your hand at a WDC shorewatch, sign up via our facebook page and join Finlay most Wednesday mornings and come see if you can spot some of the reserve’s gentle giants.
Sarah joined St Abbs Charters on the first BMR ranger lead wildlife cruise on Wednesday. A small group of three enjoyed this tour on a lovely summer morning paying a visit to the BMR’s resident masses of nesting seabirds ranging from Guillemots to Kittiwakes. The cliffs of St Abbs head provide a perfect nesting spot for seabirds, causing a high volume of activity with birds constantly coming and going from the cliffs. Bobbing next to the boat was dozens of resting seabirds, sat together in groups, this behaviour is called “rafting”. The chatter of Kittiwakes and the smell of guano (seabird poo) filled our senses. Our group was lucky enough to see some grey seals on the way back into the harbour and luckily for us we returned just before it started to rain. A big thank you to Danny the skipper of St Abbs Charters for a wonderful tour of the Berwickshire Coastline.
With our Lobster hatchery being a huge attraction to the MEC over the summer it’s important we change over our tank water regularly (despite our filters), to keep the system healthy, as it would be in the sea. Seren and Finlay headed down to Eyemouth beach to collect the fresh sea-water in order to perform partial water changes in our tanks. As well as benefiting our tank systems, this is a great workout for our rangers!
On top of water changes the maintenance of our tank equipment is essential, regular cleaning of our tank equipment, such as our filters, is extremely important. Seren took on the task of dismantling our filter systems and giving them a good clean, before re-introducing them into our tanks. Finlay then conducted our weekly chemistry monitoring of our tanks, checking all was well for our marine friends.
With clean and healthy tanks our berried lobsters are able to release their young and that young then gets the best chance possible to grow before being reintroduced into the wild. One of our berried lobsters has released all of its young - which you can come see in our hatchery - so Finlay and Head Ranger Charlotte v-notched our lobsters tail, ensuring it will not be landed by fishermen in the future, and released her back into the wild.
Our MEC has been very busy this week and is the perfect little stop if you are passing by. Come pop in for a coffee, see our lobsters, and maybe learn something new about our amazing reserve.