Thursday, 27 April 2017

New faces at Blakeney Point

A new Ranger team has just moved into the Lifeboat Station on Blakeney Point. Luke, Ryan and I will be out on the Point until the end of September, helping care for our internationally important tern and seal colonies, while continuing the now 116 year tradition of wardens on the Point. Come say hello if passing by, and let us know about your stories and sightings. 

As you can see, what a wonderful place to spend summer! Having moved from the Gulf Stream blessed beaches of Pembrokeshire I can certainly confirm it's cold by the North Sea; yet with a bounteous array of wildlife bouncing about right outside the front door, plus the best possible sunrises and sunsets, resplendent night time skies, and (thankfully) a wood burning stove, it seems we're well set.

Blakeney's wonderful raptors have completely caught our imaginations in our first month here. It seems all we'd need to complete a full set of postcards is a displaced golden eagle. We've identified kestrels, peregrines, marsh and hen harriers, red kites, a merlin, a short eared owl and today, while wandering through the dunes, I quite literally almost stood on a feasting sparrow hawk; he was to consumed with gobbling his prey to hear me coming.

The first little terns were identified arriving on 21 April, while as of 26 April there were 300 or so sandwich terns roosting on the Point. Other fantastic sightings, all firsts for me, include 3 eider ducks, a velvet scoter, Greenland wheatears, a Caspian gull and today a couple of common scoter.

We've seen our first butterflies and moths of the summer, including quite a few small coppers flittering among the dunes, and this quite beautiful emperor moth...come on, who says moths are dull?

Howard Jones, Ranger

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

18th of April: Spring shoots

Change is very visible on Blakeney Freshes at the moment. In less than a month, the area of reedbed we cut in February has been growing back fast, with green shoots rising above the water.

23rd March

18th April

We control the water levels to benefit wildlife. In February, we dropped the levels to as low as possible, in order to access the reedbed to carry out our habitat management work. We have since raised the water table to make the Freshes suitable for breeding wading birds. Avocets are nesting on small islands surrounded by water, whilst Lapwings and Redshanks are nesting in amongst the grass. A Little Ringed Plover has also been seen this week.

Other sightings in the last few days include Water Vole, Swallows passing westwards and a Mute Swan nest...

Elsewhere on the reserve, recent sightings include Firecrest, Short-eared Owl and Peregrine on Blakeney Point and Wheatear on Morston Marshes. There are approximately 130 Sandwich Terns roosting on Far Point.

Firecrest (Richard Porter)

Also on the Point, the usual patch of Sea Kale is re-emerging from underneath the shingle to the east of the Watch House. This is the only place on the reserve that it grows.

Our latest low tide seal count - conducted on Tuesday 11th April - recorded 98 Grey and 57 Common hauled out on Stiffkey West Sands.

- Ajay Tegala, Ranger