Piles of leaves on Fisherrow beach a ‘natural process’

Piles of leaves on Fisherrow beach a ‘natural process’

RESIDENTS have been reassured that piles of leaves on the beach at Musselburgh play an important role in supporting wintering and migrant shore birds.

Every winter, leaves wash up on Fisherrow Sands – a natural spectacle caught on camera by local photographer Angus Bathgate.

A spokesperson for East Lothian Council said that the winter deposit of leaves on Fisherrow beach was “a natural process”.

Asked if they come downstream from the River Esk, she replied: “We can’t say this with any certainty. While there is the Esk, there is also the Brunstane Burn and the whole of the Forth and tidal aspects to consider.”

She explained: “The leaves help to increase the nutrient level at Fisherrow Sands, which encourages a wide range of invertebrates.

“These invertebrates, in turn, are an important food source for a wide range of internationally important wintering and migrant shore birds.

“These birds can be prone to disturbance and winter is a particularly tough time of year for them.

“The diversity and number of birds at Fisherrow is impressive.

“A walk along the beach with binoculars can be a rewarding experience.

“If you stay a minimum of 40m away from feeding birds, it allows them to continue feeding, taking on vital calories whilst providing views of Musselburgh’s incredible bird life.”

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