Sunday, 10 July 2016

10th of July: Marvellous moths and a partridge chick

We’ve had mixed weather on the Point this week, seemingly bright and sunny days quickly turn to thunderstorms and heavy rain in the evenings. One particular storm was so vicious lighting was hitting the ridgeline and the buildings were shaking form the thunder peeling overhead. As you can imagine, these conditions are not conducive to migrant birds or pleasant for our ground nesting species.

Terns on the tip
Our resident terns out on Far Point and on the shingle ridge are doing very well and we have seen our first Little Tern chicks over the last few days. Our total Little Terns nest count stands at 60. This is eight higher than last year, which is truly fantastic news! We also have 17 Avocet pairs nesting on the ridge, this too is slightly up on last year's total. It’s not just the terns hatching at the moment either, we had our first sighting of a Grey Partridge chick taking its first steps from the nest. They closely follow mum and dad hiding in the grass at the first sign of danger.  
Grey Partridge chick hiding in the grass near the Lifeboat House (Daniel Wynn)

Creatures of the night
Moth trapping is an important part of the work we do on the reserve. We routinely put out our Robinson trap whenever the weather permits, and we had a truly mega-haul on Friday night catching over 24 species and 77 individuals! Featuring in the all-star line-up were some truly beautiful moths, and if you weren’t already interested in Lepidoptera, then these will surely peak your interest.
A male Drinker, native to the UK (Daniel Wynn)

Garden Tiger Moth, native to UK (Daniel Wynn)

Elephant Hawkmoth, native to UK (Daniel Wynn)

In butterfly news, we have seen our first Grayling on the reserve. Numbers are slightly down on previous years owing to the unpredictable spring weather, but we are still seeing the same diversity of species.
Grayling (Tom Whiley)

Migrant birds
Migrants have been very slow with few notables this week, but this is to be expected as the spring migration has more or less finished. We are now starting to see the first juveniles of the year moving past the Point, like this juvenile Stonechat. As we move more into late-July we will start seeing more and more Knot, Godwits and other returning waders like Grey Plover.
Juvenile Stonechat pictured in the garden (Daniel Wynn)

The seal colony is still going strong with large numbers in the hundreds recorded daily. No new pup births to report for this week but we will let you know as soon as we see anymore.

Dan Wynn,
Seasonal Assistant Ranger

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