Sunday, 26 June 2016

26th of June: Open Ears

It's that time of the year when the Cat's-ears are out on Blakeney Point, adding a lovely splash of yellow to the dunes. The flowers start to close up in the afternoon, so morning is the best time to see "open 'ears"...
 Cat's-ears flowering in the dunes

Several broods of Shelduck goslings have been seen in the harbour. These attractive birds nest down holes in the dunes, then lead their black-and-white young into the harbour soon after hatching. After breeding, adults migrate to the Wadden Sea (north German coast) to moult, leaving the young in creches with a small number of adults that do not migrate. This creche is made up of 26 goslings...
 Shelduck creche (Tom Green)

On the tip of the Point, there are now over 500 Sandwich Terns nesting...
Sandwich Terns (Tom Green)

Common Tern chicks are starting to grow up a bit...
Young Common Tern (Ajay Tegala)

We are now also up to 52 pairs of Little Terns across the reserve, the first chicks won't be far away. There are several Oystercatcher chicks doing well on the beach and two well-grown juveniles seen regularly on the marsh near the Lifeboat House, being taught how to feed by their parents. They feed largely on worms pulled from the mud as well as molluscs and crustaceans. There are a number of Black-headed Gull chicks across the reserve too...
Black-headed Gull chicks (Wynona Legg)

The Plantation has been full of surprises this week. Firstly, on Monday morning (20th), we unexpectedly witnessed a Red Deer jump out of the brambles and then trot off into the dunes! Throughout the week, a Cuckoo was seen regularly in the vicinity of the Plantation, and as many as four were recorded on Friday (24th), all adults; three males and a female. They were frequently heard calling and seen being mobbed by Meadow Pipits. Other migrants this week have included several Swifts high above and occasional Whimbrel.

Finally, in seal news, this week's low tide count totalled 272 Grey and 166 Common. And today we saw the first Dark Green Fritillary butterfly of the summer.

- Ajay, Ranger

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