Sunday, 19 June 2016

19th of June: More chicks hatching

This week has been quite unsettled weather-wise; with warm, sunny spells and heavy rain showers. Lightning hit Blakeney Point/Harbour no less than three times! In spite of this, more chicks have been hatching.

Storm over Blakeney, seen from Friary Hills (A. Green)
Numerous broods of Shelduck have been seen in the harbour as well as young Avocets in the Old Glaven Channel near Cley. More Redshank and Oystercatcher chicks have been hatching, as well as more Black-headed Gulls.
Newly-hatched Oystercatchers (A. Tegala)

Please help these fragile young chicks by obeying our on-site dog signs; keeping out of the restricted sanctuary areas and ensuring dogs are kept on leads elsewhere on the reserve. These small steps can make a big difference for our special birds.

On Thursday (16th), the first Common Tern chicks of the season were seen; two very young chicks on the very tip of Far Point. This is four days later than the first chicks of 2015:
Very young Common Terns on Far Point (A. Tegala)

All four tern species are nesting on the very end of the Point, and are visible from the seal ferries, along with a good show of Common Seals, interspersed with a few Greys. On Far Point, there are now well over 300 Sandwich Tern pairs nesting, alongside 100 pairs of Common Terns, 28 pairs of Little Terns and 2-3 pairs of Arctic Terns. There are not many places where you can see these four tern species nesting side-by-side.

Other, non-breeding, birds seen this week included several Chiffchaffs and a Willow Warbler in the bushes, a Spoonbill in Pinchen’s Creek, two Great Crested Grebes, Red-breasted Mergansers, a lone Brent goose, a Whimbrel and up to 300 Knot in the harbour plus a Buzzard flying high overhead.

This week, we also continued our Little Tern prey sampling with ECON Ecology. Species added to the list included Garfish and Dab in the sea, along with several Weavers and squid plus the usual shrimps (four different species), Flounders and Shore Crabs in the harbour. The favoured Little Tern prey species, Herring and Sand Eel, were in plentiful supply. Big thanks to the UCL and our faithful volunteers for help hauling in the nets.

Collecting fish from the net (M. Scott)

Recording a catch (M. Scott)

Typical catch in the surf zone, including Weaver (M. Scott)

Moths caught last night included Marbled Coronet, Tawny Shears, Nutmeg and Uncertain.

We hope the coming week will bring more chicks... but less lightning!

- Ajay, Ranger

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