WWD plans for the "Musical Mudflats"
[reprinted from Wetland Link International News, no. 13 (January 1998), pp.6-7, published by the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust, UK]
from the Castle Espie Wildfowl & Wetlands Centre, Northern Ireland, UK
Here is the story of how a strange and exciting idea to celebrate World Wetlands Day at The Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust's (WWT) Castle Espie Centre in Northern Ireland was born.
Imagine a dark and eerie night on the shore of an enormous estuary. What do you hear? Not silence, but the haunting calls of Curlew (Numenius arquata), the whistling of Redshank (Tringa totanus), the impatient sound of thousands of Brent Geese (Branta bernicla), and the sucking and creaking of mud as the battle for survival continues, unseen, sleepless, in the darkness. A friend whispers, "just like an orchestra playing in a haunted house". And so another World Wetlands Day event is conceived. The event, called "Musical Mud", will be held on the shores of Strangford Lough, one of the premier wetlands in Northern Ireland. It will be organised jointly by WWT and another national UK NGO, The National Trust, who work closely together to safeguard the future of the Lough's natural riches.
On the evening of World Wetlands Day, visitors will put on their rubber boots and join wardens from both organisations to go onto the muddy shores of the estuary for an unforgettable night-time bird 'watching' experience. By listening to the 'orchestra' visitors will enjoy this unique wetland at a time of day when it is often ignored. They will hear the mudflats, and be able to appreciate the wealth of life in and around the Lough that is beyond the sights of their daytime telescopes.
Abby McSherry, Education Officer, WWT Castle Espie, Ballydrain Road, Comber, County Dawn BT23 6EA, UK