Just a normal friday

Now that I have shown so many beautiful sides of Scharhörn, I want to point to the less beautiful ones. Scharhörn lies in the North Sea – an industrially very heavily used water. As national park ‘Hamburgisches Wattenmeer’ the area itself is well protected and the disturbances are low on Scharhörn and Nigehörn.
However, even there one is constantly reminded that mankind is changing its entire environment. Already at sunrise this cannot be denied.

Oil drilling platform, cargo ship and 65 wind turbines in view of Scharhörn at sunrise

Scharhörn lies next to the Elbe fairway – which means that many container ships, fishing boats and more pass it every day.

Map showing the current position of ships (coloured arrows) around Scharhörn (red dot in the centre) and the routes of the ships within a year (blue = individual voyages, red = many voyages). Copyright: www.marinetraffic.com

This means, among other things, that you can hear the ship’s engines – no tragedy. What is worse is that much of what is thrown overboard arrives. Also the currents carry what gets into the sea at the East Frisian islands to Nigehörn. The garbage is counted and collected regularly on a defined route. Last Friday I collected the garbage on a distance of 120 meters.

Here is the result:

Garbage which I collected on 120 m length at the beach of Scharhörn.

113 glass bottles, 9 light bulbs, 2 wheelbarrows full of plastic waste (plastic bottles, canisters, crashed balloons, cords, ropes, shoes, shoe soles, etc.), spray cans, cleaning agents as well as two wheelbarrows fishing waste (nets and the like) and 80-100 kg heavy oil. This rubbish did not collect there for years, but was the result of the spring tide of the 18th September. To emphasize this again: All in all seven wheelbarrows filled with garbage as result of a single spring tide on a 120 m long distance at the beach. So – just a normal Friday… Do we really want to leave the earth like this?

During this work it occurred to me that it was Friday for future – a work fitting well for this day even though it has nothing to do with climate protection. But the next day was the international coastal cleanup day


Just a normal friday

Scharhörn at its best

Within few days, Scharhörn proved to be a wonderful site, worth every minute spent.

Rugosa rose in the dunes on Scharhörn

Birds migration has started and there were amazing numbers of Sanderlings, and also some sucess while doing seawatching with Leach’s Storm Petrel and Sooty Shearwater passing by.

Sanderlings and Dunlins while feeding

The real highlight however was a Little Bunting, a very small and rare scandinavian / siberian bird, which flew by calling. Lateron, I found it again, resting in the meadow and could also watch it shortly. Well, the bird is mainly brown – but a nice combination of different brown and white tones.

Little Bunting – the photo was not made on Scharhörn but in the Ural mountains in Russia few years ago.

I hope it was able to leave the isle alive – not as this Meadow Pipit which was dinner for a Sparrowhawk:

Sparrowhawk having Meadow Pipit for dinner

Scharhörn lies next to Nigehörn, an artificially washed sand island. Over the years the two islands have almost grown together and only during the high water they are separated from each other by a tidal creek, surrounded by salt marsh.

Salt marsh between Scharhörn and Nigehörn

One of my tasks as a bird warden on Scharhörn is to count the birds that are resting on both islands. Therefore I also had to walk to Nigehörn to count the birds there. However, as the water came earlier and much higher than expected, I was cut of from Scharhörn and had to wait for 3.5 hours before I could return.

Scharhörn seen from Nigehörn – unattainable during this little storm surge. In the distance you can see a container ship on the Elbe fairway. Even at this distance it is much higher than my hut (left in front of the container ship).

Whata  pleasure to lead a life that is determined only by the sun and the tide.

Sunset on Scharhörn

Mobile office

Since yesterday, I stay on the German Isle ‘Scharhörn’ which is my home for the next days. That’s the advantage of being able to work from anywhere: All I need is a computer and internet access.

After a long journey by train, ship and tractor, I had to clean the hut first for hours, since the last guy on Scharhörn suddenly fell ill and was immediatly brought from the isle.

FInally, I could enjoy the moonrise over the island. It already feels like home and I am looking forward to the following days.

Moonrise over Scharhörn
Luggage for a stay of 10 days on Scharhörn. All the photography and sound recording equipment, food, water etc.
First morning in the hut on Scharhörn
Mobile office