Sunday, 27 July 2014

27th of July: Sun, sand and seals

We are now well into the second half of July, but a pair of Swallows have been busily building a second nest under the Old Lifeboat House roof on Blakeney Point. A fourth egg was laid today. Hopefully the chicks will hatch in around two weeks' time.
Paul and myself using a mirror on a stick to see how many eggs are in the nest.
This is part of our nest monitoring work.

A number of moths and butterflies can be seen amongst the dunes in the daytime. These include the occasional Forester, these beautiful iridescent moths have a wingspan of 25-30mm.

Sarah stumbled upon this Nutmeg moth on a piece of wood.

Silver Y moths are present in their dozens and can be seen on Sea-lavender and Sea Holly.

Bird sightings this week have included a Yellow Wagtail or two most days, a couple of Greenshanks on the 21st, a Green Sandpiper on the 23rd, regular Arctic Skuas and Whimbrel, 30 Sand Martins moving through yesterday and 24 Spoonbills in the harbour on the 22nd.

Dunlin on the shingle ridge

It has been lovely to see visitors enjoying Blakeney Point in the sunshine. We are always happy to talk about the wildlife and wondrous changing landscape of the Point, so do come and speak to us if you see us around. We would also like to remind people to please obey the dog restrictions and keep them on leads in areas where they are permitted, we still have a number of small chicks around and a few birds are still incubating eggs. It has been a challenging season for our Little Terns, so please keep away from fenced enclosures. Also, to prevent disturbance to birds please do not fly kites, and to prevent damage to the vegetation please do not light fires.

There are a number of Common and Sandwich Tern chicks on the tip of the Point. Several are capable of full flight, and a number of these have been fitted with blue colour-rings as part of a joint project with the British Trust for Ornithology to learn more about their movements and migration. Ian Ward recently came to one of our events and managed to photograph one of our ringed chicks on Far Point from a seal ferry:
If you see a colour-ringed bird, please report it to

Our latest low tide seal count (25th of July) recorded 801 Grey and 40 Common.
This summer, there have been a number of occasions when dogs off leads on the West Sands have chased all of the seals into the water. Seals need to rest to digest their food and heal wounds. Although the National Trust does not own the West Sands, we urge people to be respectful of wildlife.

For those that couldn't find the Little Tern chick pictured in last week's blog, it's circled below:

And finally, the answer to last week's guess the legs quiz...
They were the legs of a Gannet, which had sadly washed up dead on the shingle ridge. Our nearest breeding Gannets are at Bempton Cliff in Yorkshire, about 115 miles north along the coast. Many are seen flying out to sea from the Point.

- Ajay (Ranger)
A moody scene on the Point last night

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