Tuesday, 7 May 2013

7th of May: The nesting has begun

Since our last blog post the weather has continued to be warm and bright. However, nature still seems to be playing catch-up following the harsh winter. A few days later than normal, on the 2nd of May, we started finding nests. The first being a Ringed Plover nest on the shingle ridge.

Oystercatchers also lay their eggs on the shingle. They are camouflaged to reduce the chance of predation. However, this makes them hard to see, and many Oystercatchers nest on the landing ridge where all visitors on seal ferries arrive on the reserve. So we fence them off to prevent them being trampled on. Please do have a look at the eggs, but then move on quickly so that the Oystercatcher can return to incubate them. Also, please keep dogs on leads to prevent disturbance to birds and nests, and stay within the areas where dogs are permitted (certain parts of the Point are dog-free zones to help conserve nesting Little Terns - a rare and vulnerable species of bird protected by law).
Oystercatcher eggs on shingle

Taking advantage of the weather, we have been out conducting Breeding Bird Surveys each morning. This involves mapping territories and recording breeding behaviour to assess the number of breeding passerines on the Point: Meadow Pipits, Skylarks, Linnets, Reed Buntings, Dunnocks and Wrens. During Sunday morning's survey, we discovered the first Meadow Pipit nests of the year.

Meadow Pipits lay their eggs in small nests hidden amongst Marram grass.

This morning we found the first Linnet nest of the year, in a Suaeda bush.

Today was a good day for raptors, a Honey Buzzard was seen flying over the Point and also an Osprey. There was also a Short-eared Owl in the dunes.

More butterflies have been added to the year list over the weekend: Painted Lady, Small Copper and Small White. Today the first Cinnibar moth of the year was seen:

A few more flowers are in bloom, including Sea Campion (left) and Heath Dog-violet (right).

Today's low tide seal count recorded 83 Common and 518 Greys. We were recently contacted by the RSPCA to let us know that a Grey seal pup rescued from the Point on Christmas Eve had made a good recovery and been released at Sutton Bridge on the Lincolnshire coast. Its weight had increased by nearly four times in just over four months.

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