Tuesday, 23 July 2013

25th of July: Pirates and butchers

The recent sunny and warm weather has been ideal for the butterflies and bees. We had our highest count of the season on our butterfly transect this week with 57 butterflies of seven different species, including this Grayling, which can be amazingly camouflaged against the backdrop of lichen and sand...

While on patrol, we stumbled upon some bees that had been impaled on bramble.
These were part of a larder created by a migrating Red-backed Shrike back in May, who had over shot its breeding ground on the Continent. Shrikes – or 'butcher birds' as they are also known – impale their prey on bushes to store for later, this one obviously forgot about these bees:

The other bees have been doing well on the Point with plenty of nectar sources available. Common Sea-lavender is currently in flower, creating a purple haze on the saltmarsh. Three species of Sea-lavender can be seen in flower on Blakeney Point at the moment; Common, Matted and Rock.
Common Sea-lavender is abundant on the saltmarsh

Matted Sea-lavender has paler flowers

The Little Terns have started to fledge. Some of the birds that had their nests washed out in June have laid again; we captured this footage of them incubating their camouflaged eggs on the shingle this week (permitted under license).

Little Terns are one of four species of tern that breed on the Point. They are under threat nationwide due to human disturbance and loss of suitable habitat. So please stay away from the fenced off breeding areas and keep dogs in the permitted areas .

The terns dive offshore for sand eels and other small fish. At the moment they are having to dodge Arctic Skuas, sometimes known as avian pirates of the sea. These will be immature birds or failed breeders. It is amazing to watch Skuas chase terns for the fish they have caught, they fly synchronised with the terns copying their every twist, turn and dive through the air in the hope of stealing a fish.

- Above text and photos by Matt Twydell

In other news, we have just heard that two Grey Seal pups rescued from the Point over the winter have been released at Sutton Brige, Lincolnshire after having been taken care of by the RSPCA at East Winch.

To finish with, here is a photo, taken by our very own Graham Lubbock, showing two juvenile Oystercatchers born on the landing ridge in June, with a parent in the foreground.

No comments:

Post a Comment