In other Oystercatcher news, we sadly found a dead bird a couple of weeks ago. The bird had a metal ring on its leg, so we sent off the code to the EU ring web-site. This week we had a response, and were impressed to learn that the bird had been ringed in 1987 - before Ajay was even born! It was ringed along the Norfolk Coast at Snettisham, aged at least three years. That makes the Oystercatcher at least 30 years old, which is quite impressive considering the typical lifespan is just 12 years, and this bird was still breeding. On a slightly less positive note, it confirms our suspicions that we have an aging population of breeding Oystercatchers (in 2009, two ringed Oystercatchers were found to be aged 29 and 32).
In happier news, we are delighted to announce that the first Sandwich Tern chicks hatched this week. If you look closely at the photograph, you can see the egg tooth. This is not a tooth at all, but actually a hardened tip to the bill, used to break through the eggshell.
The adults are working hard to feed their chicks. As the tide receded today, a pool of water was left behind, trapping many fish inside it. This resulted in a feeding frenzy. All four of our breeding tern species were seen indulging, along with a Little Gull.
Finally, the answer to last week's "Guess the Legs" was in fact a Marsh Harrier. Not something you find washed up on the beach very often.
Ajay and Paul,
Blakeney Point Rangers