Monday, 4 June 2018

May Wildlife Round-Up

May has been a joyous month with the discovery of numerous nests and chicks across the reserve

Breeding birds
May has been fantastic for hatching wader chicks on Blakeney Freshes: Lapwing chicks were present by 6th, Redshank by 17th, Avocet by 27th and the Little Ringed Plovers by the coast path hatched on 28th. It has been a good season for Lapwings, with several well-grown chick sightings. Mallard ducklings abound. From 14th May, a Bittern has been heard booming intermittently, which we are very excited about. Around 700 Black-headed Gulls were present on the saltmarsh at Stiffkey in early May, with numbers reducing to nearer 300 by 23rd when 41 nests were recorded on the Meals along with a pair of Common Terns. On our new land at Salthouse – east of Beach Road and north of the A149 – we have four pairs of Black-headed Gulls, six pairs of Avocets and a pair of Lapwings. On Blakeney Point, the first Oystercatcher egg was spotted on 3rd May, the same day that Blakeney Primary School visited to put out their Little Tern decoys. A week later, numbers in excess of 100 Little Terns were counted above the Watch House colony. The first Oystercatcher chick was seen on 3rd June. Numerous Meadow Pipit chicks have been observed in the dunes throughout May and Linnet chicks are about to fledge.

Little Tern presenting a fish to its partner (Greg Cooper)
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Migrant birds
Numerous migrant Wheatears have been observed on Blakeney Freshes. By 16th May, Swifts, Swallows, House Martins and Sand Martins were present together feeding on and above the Freshes. Blakeney Point May migrant highlights included Glaucous Gull (2nd), Osprey (4th, 12th), Short-toed Lark (5th–6th, 26th), Hobby (11th, 12th), Red-throated Pipit (12th), Red-breasted Flycatcher (15th), Icterine Warbler (two on 26th, one singing), Nightjar (26th), singing Black Redstart (26th), male Pied Flycatcher (30th) and Marsh Warbler (30th–31st). The most notable migrant of the year, so far, was a Moltoni’s Subalpine Warbler on 2nd–3rd June, which attracted around 600 visitors. This was the second record for the Point, the previous being 11th May 2015.

Footage of the 2015 Moltoni's Subalpine Warbler on Blakeney Point:
 
Seals
Low tide seal counts have remained low this month. We are now entering the Common Seal breeding season; pups are born on tidal sandbars in the Wash and start to show up at Blakeney later in the summer.
Date
Grey Seal
Common Seal
14th April 2018
28
75
16th May 2018
20
46

Other wildlife
A Green Hairstreak, Britain’s only green-coloured butterfly, landed on the wall of our office on 6th May; nearby Friary Hills is a good place to see them. Common Blues began appearing later in the month. Cinnabar moth sightings were made on Blakeney Freshes on 22nd and at Morston Quay on 29th. A Water Vole was observed on the Freshes on 16th; it is always a delight to see these most appealing small mammals.

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