Monday, 27 January 2014

Of Pies and Plastic

The weekend before last Allan and I went "birding" down the Clyde. 

When I say birding, I mean that we started at the reserve, where there was a very pretty ring-tail quartering, and then made a punt for Stevenson's Point, where we ticked off purple sandpiper and met a very nice bloke who works on lesser whitethroats. Then we dashed down to Ayr to check out the ducks and deer, and glanced over Bogside for short eared owl - nothing doing - and grabbed lunch at The Ship. 

Seriously, if you ever find yourself in Ayr, drop in for a chicken and banana pie. Its one of those things that, once seen on the menu, has to be tried. So it was chicken and banana pies with mash and roast veg all round. 

I can't explain how brilliant the are, you'll have to follow your curiosity and seek them out for yourself. However, to enjoy them to their fullest, don't eat anything prior to going... honestly, nothing for a week. They also serve up excellent home made shortbread.

Female Hen Harrier (with wonderful glare from the window)

The was also a full adult portion of plastic available for those who know where to look.

You'll have heard me bemoaning the winter weather and its effects on the beaches of Cumbrae. The impact on Ayr was no less severe than that on the island - plenty of tree trunks and car tires - but, the composition of the debris was a little more diverse. The storms had bought more than macroplastics ashore.

Tucked away beside the car park was this wonderful demonstration of my thesis. Raw plastic pellets (nurdles) measuring around 3 mm in diameter, are mixed in with fragments of plastic marine litter. All the perfect size for consumption by fish, waders and any number of passing beasties. Another research question is forming in my mind... "How do seasonal storms affect plastic uptake by biota?..." Watch this space to find out....

Fragments, cotton bud sticks, nurdles; Ayr's got the lot

Most of these beads are pre-production nibs, commonly found in the sea's surface microlayer

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