Thursday, 10 May 2012

10th of May: Nest Recording

The breeding season is in full swing now and we are spending a lot of time looking for and monitoring nests. We are contributing to the BTO's (British Trust for Ornithology) nest monitoring scheme. This involves filling out a card for each nest found and briefly visiting it every four days to record the number of eggs and, later on, the number of chicks. In fact, today we watched a Meadow Pipit feeding a successfully fledged chick.

We are monitoring ten nests each. Species include Linnets, Meadow Pipits, Oystercatchers, Redshanks and Ringed Plovers. We also have a dissertation student from UEA (University of East Anglia, Norwich) monitoring a number of Oystercatchers.

We are not using the BTO nest monitoring scheme method to record individual tern nests because - aside from the fact that there are over 3,000 nests - it would involve walking into the colony, which would cause too much disturbance. Incubating terns are counted from a distance using a telescope.

Like on Tuesday, several Swifts, Swallows, House Martins and Sand Martins flew west over the point. In a 2 and-a-half hour period 1,782 Swifts, 834 Swallows and 522 House Martins were counted. Extrapolating from this, we estimate that around 5,000 Swifts flew over Blakeney Point today.

Swallow (Joe Cockram)

Above and below: Swift (Joe Cockram)

- Ajay

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