Sunday, 17 April 2016

17th of April: Minding the Gap

The weather has been very up and down over the last week. But roosting Sandwich Tern numbers keep going up. Numbers have more than doubled; last night's count recorded approximately 1,400 birds on the end of Blakeney Point.

If you are walking up the Point at low tide, you will meet one of the rangers by the 'Gap' in the dunes towards the western end of the beach. Access is limited here, so please speak to us for advice and we will be happy to point out wildlife of interest with our telescope. Today there were 179 Sanderlings on the shoreline, and a couple of dozen Swallows passed westwards.

This week's wildlife sightings have included a couple of Lesser-spotted Dogfish washed up near the Watch House, a Greater Pipefish washed up on the beach and also this beautiful Common Sunstar.

Migrant birds have included a Black Redstart, numerous Chiffchaffs and Wheatears, a couple of Willow Warblers, a male Blackcap, Goldfinch, Brambling plus a few Robins and Song Thrushes. Two Red Kites were seen together flying over the dunes this afternoon.

Bird of the week: Northern Wheatear
Numerous migrant Wheatears are present on the Norfolk Coast at the moment. Numbers reached double-figures on the Point this week. These birds will have migrated from Africa and Europe on their way to their breeding grounds. British-breeding Wheatears most commonly favour western and northern Britain. The nearest breeding birds are at Orford Ness in Suffolk. Pairs have held territories in the dunes on Blakeney Point in 1999, 2003, 2013 and 2014, last having bred 80 years ago in 1936 - one or three pairs used to breed on Yankee Ridge in the early 20th century.
Migrant Wheatear on the Point (Joe Cockram, 2012)

As well as rabbit holes, they will also breed in rock piles, so we have made a few rock piles on Yankee Ridge, including one on the Yankee itself, in a hope that they may choose to breed again after an 80-year absence.

Please note that the Yankee wreck has deteriorated considerably and is unsafe. It has been fenced off, please respect the fence-line as the boat has lots of jagged edges and is structurally unsound.

Hare amongst Suaeda

- Ajay

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