Sunday, 9 August 2015

9th of August: Lots of little Little Terns

This weekend marked more-or-less the end of the breeding bird season on Blakeney Point, with the final Little Tern juveniles of the year fledging.

We had two main colonies on the Point this year. Some 18 pairs nested on the shingle ridge east of the Watch House. From this colony, 21 birds fledged.
Watch House colony, now empty (Richard Porter)

Juvenile being fed away from nesting site (Tom Whiley)

The second colony was on the beach east of the Gap. Last year, two pairs fledged two young from this area, unlike the larger more established beach colony that suffered severe flooding. For this reason, we put out decoys. These seemed to work, attracting 11 pairs to nest. From this colony, 12 birds fledged. This represents the best Little Tern productivity on the Point since 2011.
Adult Little Tern in flight (Tom Whiley)

With all Little Tern chicks fledged, the seasonal dog ban has been lifted. We would like to thank visitors for obeying the access restrictions and respecting the dog restrictions throughout the breeding season. Disturbances have been notably fewer this year, so a big thank you for helping and especially to our Little Tern volunteers who have done a great job helping to observe and protect the Watch House colony.

Our latest low tide seal count has recorded the largest number of hauled out Common Seals since September 2011. The count - conducted on Wednesday (5th of August) - totalled 519 Grey and 412 Common.
Young Common Seal this week (Sarah Johnson)

This week's migrant birds have included Hobby, Merlin, Willow Warblers, Pied Flycatcher and a Magpie, the latter being a very rare sighting on the Point. The Swallow chicks in the Old Tern Hide fledged this week too.
Swallow chicks before they fledged (Sarah Johnson)

There are no longer any birds on nests. That is, except for a pair of Wood Pigeons still building a late nest in the Tamarisk! There are still a few small Ringed Plover chicks around and several hundred Oystercatchers are roosting on the beach at high tide. For this reason, we ask that visitors still keep dogs under close control as birds are vulnerable to disturbance at all times of year.

- Ajay

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