Sunday, 20 October 2013

20th of October: Firsts for the Point

On Friday morning we added Glossy Ibis to the Blakeney Point bird list when four flew east and were seen by Paul from the top of the boardwalk. Although there have been several Glossy Ibis sightings in Norfolk over the past few years, this is the first record for the Point.

Another first for the Point was this spider, known as the rabbit hutch spider because it is often found in sheds and outhouses, this one turned up in the Lifeboat House - what does that say about our living conditions?!
Photo by Alex Green of Brancaster Activity Centre

Coincidentally, there appears to be a rabbit living in the garden. Since being wiped out by myxomatosis in the 1990s, rabbits are a rarity on the Point. This one has been seen hopping out of the brambles near the public toilets and feasting on apples that we had put out for the migrant thrushes.

Several Blackbirds, Song Thrushes, Redwings and Fieldfares are still arriving on the Point. Peregrines and Merlins are seen most days. There are also several Goldcrests about. A Purple Sandpiper was seen on Friday, a Yellow-browed Warbler on Saturday and the first Hen Harrier of the autumn this morning. There has also been the occasional Woodcock, we found one on Middle Point that had been freshly killed by a raptor. This gave the opportunity to photograph its tail feathers up close. The bright white tips are on the underside and so only observed when flashed to scare off predators. Woodcock are the only British breeding wader to spend time and breed in dense woodland. Those being seen on the Point recently will be birds fresh in off the sea, ready to spend the winter with us.
On winter evenings, Woodcock can be seen flying over Friary Hills onto Blakeney Freshes to feed. They are largely nocturnal and spend most of the day in dense cover.
On Thursday three species of butterfly and a moth were seen on the Point. The moth was an Angle Shades and the butterflies included three Peacocks, a Small Copper and a Comma. Interestingly the only other Comma recorded this year was the first butterfly of the year, on the 13th of April. In a way, that brings things full circle. Like in April, we are once again also putting up fencing. This time not for breeding birds but for pupping Grey Seals. At the moment just the stakes are out, we will add the string and enforce access restrictions when the seals start moving up into the dunes.

Last year the first pup was born on the 27th of October, the year before on the 28th, the year before that the 27th, and the year before that on the 26th. So place your bets now!
Cute pup on the Point a couple of years ago
(Photographed by Graham Lubbock)

Our most recent low tide sea count was conducted on the 17th of October and recorded 902 Greys and 164 Commons.

As we are still in the Lifeboat House while we prepare for the pupping season, the visitor centre and toilets are also still open. They will be open throughout the half term week for visitors walking up the Point.

Whilst carrying out our daily duties, we stumbled upon this fossilised sea-urchin, an echinoid. It is probably around 80 million years old.

Another find was this half gallon green bottle, which has earned itself a permanent place in the Lifeboat House.
- Ajay and Paul

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