Easterly winds, rising rubbish and oil spills

After a period of solely westerly facing winds disspointinly for the birding community, we have over the last couple of weeks had a few days of easterly winds.

Along with days of strong easterly winds Forvie Beach is more inclined to collect marine litter, forced up the beach from the tide and the winds.

On a recent trip down to the beach we started seeing a number of large items that we decided to collect at a later date when the 4×4 was available. Having returned a few days later I was already struggling to see some of the rubbish and briefly thought maybe someone had moved it? Until i see the tail end of rope sticking out of the sand I realised that a lot of it had been buried by sand already!

Almost totally buried

It did make me pause and think, how much more rubbish has gathered under the sand? Buried and exposed over and over with passing storms, a landfill under your feet perhaps. Maybe some of this rubbish didn’t wash up recently but has been laying under the sand for some time until it was exposed again with recent winds?

marine litter fashioned into a roving bin along the beach

Aside from that it was important to remove it. From some fish boxes and a good length of rope on the beach I made an impromptu roving bin, to collect marine litter as I made my way up the beach.

A leaking container of used engine oil was found on the beach.

This leaking oil was definitely one of the saddest things that I’ve come across and very difficult to remove/deal with.

As I was writing this article someone brought a second leaking container of oil up to the office – 2 in 2 days, dangerous stuff

What I wasn’t expecting while I collected a few items along the beach was the response of people out for a walk on the reserve. While my intention was to collect a few large items various small groups were walking up the beach collecting smaller pieces and adding to the pile or taking it with them. To me, this is a big part of what working with SNH is all about, connecting people and nature. But this was inspiring in a unique way. There was no event, no planned beach clean – people took time out of there day on a whim and it soon reminded me of an impromptu beach clean. No one was asked to help, they simply did – they were connected people and nature.