Saturday, 24 October 2015

25th of October: Sandwich in South Africa

News has just reached us that one of our Sandwich Terns, ringed on Blakeney Point as a chick last summer, has been seen in South Africa. It was seen on the coast of Storms River on Sunday the 18th of October amongst a group of several other Sandwich Terns. The bird was colour-ringed on the Point on the 18th of June 2014 (with the unique code 'KD3') and was seen 51 days later at Findhorn in Scotland on the 8th of August 2014. Fourteen months on and it is a live and well far away in South Africa.
Sandwich Terns on Blakeney Point

Last autumn, a Sandwich Tern ringed on the Point was seen in The Gambia, where it is widely accepted that many of Norfolk's breeding terns spend the winter. It came as a surprise to learn that Norfolk birds have made it so far south.

October is a good time to catch the arrival of migrant thrushes on Blakeney Point. In the second week of the month, dozens of Song Thrushes and Redwings appeared, with he occasional Ring Ouzel amongst them.

Highlights this month so far have included a Great Grey Shrike, Red-breasted Flycatcher (both Thursday 15th) and Long-eared Owl (Friday 16th).
Great Grey Shrike (Richard Porter)

Also in October, we have exceeded 150,000 blog views. We exceeded 100,000 last autumn, meaning there has been an average of almost 4,000 views per month in the last year. Many thanks to all who look at the blog and help us to look after the coast.

Our last seal count was conducted back on the 8th of October, when 102 Common and 572 Greys were counted. Numbers have since dropped to just 5 Common and around 30 Grey, which is a sign that the Grey Seal pupping season is about to begin. They are currently out to sea feeding up prior to coming ashore. Our friends a little further around the Norfolk Coast at Horsey have just had their first pup. Our first pup is expected this coming week. We will announce its arrival on the blog.
Soon there will be hundreds of pups on the Point

From 25 in 2001 to 1,566 in 2013/14 to an incredible 2,426 last winter, the number of pups born at Blakeney is increasing rapidly. Last year we became the largest breeding colony in England.

By mid-November, the western-most mile of Blakeney Point will be occupied by hundreds of pups, their mothers and several territorial bull seals. It is a dangerous place for people and dogs, their own safety at risk as well as the seals'. We thank responsible visitors for respecting access restrictions. We advise that the best way to see the pups is undoubtedly by the seal boat trips that go regularly from Morston Quay. You can book onto our guided boat trips here - but be quick as tickets are selling fast.

- Ajay (Coastal Ranger)

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