June has seen the first
Common Seal pups of the year on Blakneney Point and lots of chicks appearing
across the reserve. We will be continuing to carefully follow their progress
We are delighted to report three Bittern sightings on
Blakeney Freshes in the second half of June, seen in the vicinity of the
reedbed on 15th, 25th and 28th June. Also in the
reedbed, two juvenile Marsh Harriers were noted on 26th. We are very
pleased to now have two broods of Little Ringed Plovers: the original pair with
three well-grown juveniles plus a second pair with smaller chicks. Flying
juvenile Lapwings were observed on the Freshes from 21st. Mallards appear to have had a very good season, with several broods of varying ages across the Freshes. The
Black-headed Gull colony on Stiffkey Meals is doing well, with 23 chicks close
to fledging. This colony has been slowly building up over the last three years,
having previously been absent for some time, and is attracting Common Terns to
also prospect there. The 14 pairs of Sand Martins at Gramborough Hill, Salthouse
are doing well with five chicks observed poking out of nest holes on 19th.
On Blakeney Point, there has been a late arrival of Sandwich Terns, with 165 pairs
nesting on the tip of Far Point alongside 185 Black-headed Gull pairs. There are
also dozens of Common Tern chicks, from 103 nests – more than twice as many as
last year – and four pairs of Arctic Terns on the tip of the Point. Unfortunately, the Little Tern colony near
the Watch House has suffered from Kestrel predation, which has been a problem
at several colonies around the country this year. We are hoping the addition of
diversionary feeding stations will encourage the Kestrels away from the colony.
Our focus remains on looking after the remaining nests and chicks as we keep up our daily presence at this colony. Elsewhere on the Point, there are 45 Little Tern pairs breeding on the beach towards the western end.
Black-headed Gull chick, Blakeney Point (Ajay Tegala)
Shelducklings, Blakeney Freshes (Ajay Tegala)
Little Tern with chick, Blakeney Point (Barry Brooks)
Little Tern chick using shelter, Blakeney Point (Ryan Doggart)
start of June saw a rather sensational end to the spring migration with Moltoni’s
Subalpine Warbler on 2nd and 3rd plus Paddyfield Warbler
and Short-toed Lark on 5th. Passages of Swifts were observed
throughout the month, peaking at 41 on 16th. Curlew arrivals have
been noted, with eight recorded on 22nd.
first Common Seal pup of the season was seen in the second half of June. As
is usual, low tide seal counts show a definite increase in numbers from
trapped on Friary Hills, for National Moth Weekend, included Small Elephant,
Poplar and Pine Hawkmoths and Burnished Brass. A freshly emerged female Emperor
dragonfly was observed on Blakeney Freshes on 13th June. On Blakeney
Point, Dark Green Fritillary butterflies were recorded from 23rd
with eight seen on 28th. The end of the month also saw dozens of
day-flying Silver Y and Cinnabar moths.
early June, nine Bee Orchid spikes were counted on Young's Land (a
field owned by the National Trust located between Blakeney Garage and
the coast path).
Bee Orchid, Blakeney (Ajay Tegala)
saw the beginning of our annual Ragwort control. Uprooting this poisonous plant
is a legal requirement on areas with grazing livestock, which includes Blakeney
Freshes. We will be doing lots more of this throughout July as well as cutting
thistles in order to avoid them going to seed, spreading and outcompeting other
plants of higher conservation value.