Sunday, 31 July 2016

31st of July: Wader flocks and Common Seal pups

The breeding bird season of 2016 is approaching its end. A walk along the ridge can be rewarded with sightings of Little Tern fledglings - 9 young have fledged from the colony near the Watch House. Boat trips from Morston will reveal this year’s Sandwich and Common Tern juveniles on Far Point. You can also see juvenile Oystercatchers foraging along the waterline off the landing ridge.

17 pairs of Avocets have fledged 15 young. Having now moved on, we have taken down the temporary fencing at the Cley end of the ridge where they nested. Please be aware that other fence-lines on the Point remain in place to protect breeding birds that have not yet fledged.
The Avocet fencing being removed from the ridge (Daniel Wynn)

Butterflies are present in good numbers around the reserve with regular sightings of Small White, Meadow Brown, Gatekeeper and Grayling. There have been several recent sightings of Dark Green Fritillaries feeding on Wild Pansy. July and August mark the peak months for moth trapping as individuals migrate northwards from the continent. We have had our Robinson moth trap out weekly and have been getting good hauls. On the 25th July we recorded 21 species and 128 individuals including first sightings of Ruby Tiger and Oak Eggar.
Oak Eggar (Wynona Legg)

We are still seeing large flocks of wader in the harbour, including Knot (pictured below). On the 30th July we recorded 110 Whimbrel and 140 Oystercatchers, with sightings of both Purple and Green Sandpiper. We sighted 55 Golden Plover heading west on the 29th. Grey Plovers are becoming a regular sight foraging along the tideline. The first stirrings of autumn are starting to be seen out at sea as juvenile Skuas and Shearwaters pass through; on the 30th an Arctic Skua was witnessed harassing the Black-Headed Gulls and Sandwich Terns. On the 30th, we recorded a rather weather-beaten juvenile Chiffchaff.

Knot (Tom Green)

Knot (Richard Porter)

In seal news, we have seen a few new Common Seal pups along the ridge. Today's low tide count revealed 439 Grey and 168 Common.

Lifeboat House sunset (Zoe Frank)

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