Sunday, 10 April 2016

10th of April: Moving In

It's been a busy week on Blakeney Point. Before we could move in, 2.4 tonnes of batteries had to be replaced to power the Lifeboat House. The old batteries had stopped holding charge following a downward spiral since the December 2013 tidal surge. Replacements had to be shipped from abroad and arrived in the country this week. Just in time for the start of the season.
 Unloading the new batteries

On Friday, myself and Seasonal Assistant Rangers Dan Wynn and Wynona Legg moved in for the start of the 2016 breeding bird season. A Sandwich Tern roost count that evening recorded 600+ birds on Far Point - another 750-800 were counted further west on the North Norfolk Coast at the same time.

Today, the first Small Copper butterfly of the year was seen in the dunes. The week's migrant birds have included Wheatear, numerous Chiffchaffs, a Goldcrest and small numbers of Swallows flying west. This weekend, six raptor species were seen on the Point: Kestrel, Peregrine, Merlin, Red Kite, male Hen Harrier and Marsh Harriers.
Male Marsh Harrier

 Small Copper

Dozens of both Shelduck and Brent Geese are present almost side-by-side in the harbour; a cross-over of summer-breeding and over-wintering wildfowl. Shelduck will soon be laying their eggs down burrows in the dunes, while Brent Geese will be migrating to the Arctic Circle to breed.
Shelduck and Brent in the harbour

Our latest low tide seal count recorded 177 Grey and 16 Common.

It's been a weekend of spring tides, but thankfully none of our breeding bird enclosures have been washed away. We look forward to finding the first nests over the coming few days.

- Ajay Tegala, Coastal Ranger

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