Sunday, 10 November 2013

10th of November: Seal Diary

This November, Seasonal Ranger Paul Nichols is staying on as a volunteer and continuing to live in the Lifeboat House. As well as keeping the visitor facilities open and leading guided walks, he is out and about observing wildlife and carefully monitoring the breeding Grey Seal colony (rookery) on a day-to-day basis. Not everyone would want to be on such a remote part of the coast in November, but Paul is in his element. He has been keeping notes on the seals, birds and other wildlife.

Paul writing in the wildlife diary (EDP, 2011)

Saturday 2nd of November
Two pups on Far Point this morning, witnessed a stillbirth at 11am - very sad
30 Fieldfares flew over
10 Goldfinches on the shingle ridge feeding on Curled Dock seeds
Found remains of Woodcock that had just been killed by a Marsh Harrier
Black Redstart in the garden 

Sunday 3rd of November 
Now three pups on the beach, a few adults moving into the dunes
A few Pink-footed Geese flew over
Black Redstart still in garden
26 Snow Buntings on beach west of Sea Hide
Monday 4th of November 
8 pups this morning and at least a dozen adults now in the dunes
Harvest mouse nest found on tideline
40 Redwings came in this afternoon and a Chiffchaff appeared on Middle Point
Put phase one fencing up as far as the gap (see below)
Big old tide this evening, almost up to the Lifeboat House steps 

New-born pup

Tuesday 5th of November 
One more pup born overnight, total of 9
Lots of thrushes today: 700 Blackbirds, 1200 Redwings, 400 Fieldfares, 200 Song Thrushes
Also 1500 Starlings
Fantastic array of fungi on the Point at the moment, many different species
Cow and pup 

Wednesday 6th of November 
13 pups and lots more adults in dunes
Grey Seal seen taking Wigeon off the sea!
Report of a first winter Glaucous Gull
Flock of 48 Snow Buntings - magical sight
Bull, cow and newborn pup 

Thursday 7th of November 
Strong winds last night
Big increase to 29 pups today
Raptors: 2 Marsh Harriers, male Peregrine, female Merlin, male Sparrowhawk

Pup suckling

Friday 8th of November 
Now 41 pups, spreading further east along beach
Smart-looking male Stonechat in the garden
WeBS count included 389 Brent Geese and 750 Wigeon

Brent Geese in Stanley's Cockle Bight 

Saturday 9th of November 
68 pups: 17 on saltmarsh, 46 on beach, 5 in the dunes
Slightly scraggy Short-eared Owl in the main dunes
8 Rock Pipits on edge of water in New Glaux Low
Great to see Aylmerton on the Point and crossing the Glaven with a school group
Wonderful light in the late afternoon 

Seals spreading east along the beach

Sunday 10th of November 
95 pups this afternoon, including one east of the gap fenceline
Watched Peregrine take a Redshank on saltmarsh opposite Lifeboat House
Flock of 50+ Snow Buntings on Far Point
Also 6 Lapland Buntings and 2 Shorelarks
Watched the Blakeney firework display from the Lifeboat House steps
Flock of Snow Buntings

Graph showing pup counts to date

As mentioned above, the first phase of fencing has been put up, restricting access to the beach and dunes west of the gap, like during the breeding bird season. This fencing is in place to protect the seals, please do not cross the fencelines for your own safety. As more seals are moving onto the beach east of the gap towards the Sea Hide, we will be extending the fenceline over the next week. The best way to see the seals is by the ferries that go from Morston Quay. There are also a few spaces on our guided seal pup tour on the 7th of December, for booking and information click here.
In other news, we have just contributed a post to the River Glaven Conservation Group blog.

Also, did you know we have just opened a new National Trust holiday cottage in Blakeney? For booking and information click here.

No comments:

Post a Comment