Marine sediments and feeding seabirds

I was struck recently when scanning from south coastal headlands how murky and brown the coastal water still  seemed to be, at least in patches. During the peak of the winter storms, the combination of exceptional wave action and land runoff after downpours seemed to turn the whole of Torbay and surrounding seas to a kind of brown soup for a mile or more from shore. Those of us watching the divers , auks, Shags and other marine species feeding in the area started to wonder how they managed to detect, follow and catch underwater prey in such turbid conditions. Much of the Great Northern Diver  prey seemed to be crabs which presumably are less mobile, but other species may well have had more trouble catching moving fish . I saw on BBC SW news on Weds night that Plymouth Marine Biological Lab are doing a study of the persistence of suspended sediment in the seas off the region; it will be interesting to see how this affects marine life and continued ability of seabirds to feed in affected areas.  



Posted April 11th, 2014 at 11:29 am in Bird News