Sunday, 14 June 2015

14th June: Tails of the unexpected

After another quiet start to a week, things really picked up with the discovery of another rare warbler on Blakeney Point - a Paddyfield Warbler found near the Long Hills by James McCallum and Kevin Shepherd, on Thursday afternoon. This is a first for Blakeney Point (fourth record for Norfolk) and has lingered for a fourth day, making it a major draw for many birders.
 Paddyfield Warbler and Ajay (Dave Curtis)

The discovery of this migrant was swiftly followed by another - a Greenish Warbler on Yankee Ridge on the same afternoon, and then a Blyth's Reed Warber near the Watch House on Saturday evening. Then this afternoon a summer plumage Laughing Gull flew past the Point. A smattering of less rare migrants were also spotted towards the end of the week, including a Spotted Flycatcher, Common Whitethroat and a few Chiffchaffs.

We would really like to thank all those who have come to see these birds for respecting the fenced off areas during a vulnerable time in the season for breeding birds.
 Paddyfield Warbler birdwatchers: Day 4 (Ajay)

There have also been migrants of a different nature, with a number of Humming-bird Hawk-moths found, many sheltering from the weather. These day-flying moths migrate to the UK from the Mediterranean and North Africa, and create a humming sound through the rapid beating of their wings. Apparently, the Humming-bird Hawk-moth is considered a good omen in Italy and Malta. A swarm was observed crossing the English Channel towards England on the day of the D-Day landings in 1944 (BBC Radio 4 website).
Humming-bird Hawk-moth (Sarah)

We have also been monitoring the emergence of Hornet clearwing moths on the Point, after confirming they had bred on site last year. So far we have only found one pupal case.
Hornet moth pupal case before and after emergence (Sarah)

 Hornet moth (Warden's Photograph Archive)

Many plants are either coming to the end of their flowering period or just starting to bloom, and there are some stunning colours to be seen out here.  An abundance of the Yellow-horned Poppy can be seen along most of the Point. Slightly less expected (and rarer out here!) is the Common Poppy - this one was found on Far Point.
Common Poppy on Far Point (Ajay) 

Yellow-horned Poppy (Warden's Photograph Archive)

And on a final note, we have yet more chicks!...
Oystercatcher chicks in the nest (top, Ajay) and on the beach (below, Sarah)
Newly-hatched chicks near the Lifeboat House
First Common Tern chicks of the year (Ajay)

We have 130 pairs of breeding Common Terns on the Point this year, this is the highest number for ten years.

- Sarah and Paul (Seasonal Rangers)

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