Sunday, 2 August 2015

2nd of August: Melodious on the Point

On Friday 31st July during a quick look in the garden by the Lifeboat House, Ranger Paul spotted a yellow warbler.  Initially thinking it was the first returning Willow Warbler of the year, a look through his binoculars revealed a Hippolais warbler.  After gaining better views it turned out to be a juvenile Melodious Warbler.  Breeding mainly in Italy, Spain and Portugal, and wintering in West Africa, it is not surprising that few have been seen in Norfolk - this bird is only the 5th record for the county.

 Melodious Warbler on Blakeney Point (Paul Nichols)

Other birds to have graced the Point this week include two Great White Egrets, two Spoonbills and five Grey Herons today, whilst in addition to the Melodious Warbler on the 31st we also had two Yellow Wagtails, a Short-eared Owl, a Hobby and a Peregrine.

In terms of the breeding birds, the Little Terns still have young being fed on the shore.  Feeding rates appear to have improved hugely since earlier in the season and we're hoping Little Terns on the Point might fledge more than last year.

Little Tern juvenile on beach (Sarah Johnson)

North Norfolk's shores are currently being invaded by millions of insects.  Over the past two days the ranger team has been seeing large numbers of Large and Small White butterflies, a smattering of Peacocks and Painted Ladies, thousands of Bishy Barnabees (ladybirds) and a handful of wasps.  There have also been a number of Odonata, such as Small Red-eyed Damselfly, Emperor Dragonfly and Banded Demoiselle.

Small Red-eyed Damselfly (Sarah Johnson)

We began the week with round three of our seine netting sessions - the last for this year.  Species caught included Sea Bass, Herring, Shrimps, Plaice, Flounder, Pipefish and Sea Scorpion - the last two being the first of each species we've caught.
Former Seasonal Wardens Joe Cockram and Richard Berridge 

Recording the catch...

...involves lots of notetaking 

Different shrimp species 

Sea Bass

In seal news: We sent a 14kg weak, abandoned Grey Seal pup to the RSPCA East Winch back in January. We have just heard back that it was released at Sutton Bridge, Lincolnshire on the 8th of July, weighing a healthy 43.5kg. Big thanks to the team at East Winch for doing a great job to help a Blakeney-born seal.

With the beautiful weather this weekend it has been great to see so many people out enjoying the Point, but please be aware if you are planning a trip that dogs are still not allowed on the Point except for limited areas around the Lifeboat House on a lead, and within the first 1/4 mile or so from the NWT Cley car park.  This will change mid-August.  Fenced off areas may look empty but still have young birds in them and act as a refuge before they are fully-fledged, so please respect the fencelines.

And finally, here's a racing pigeon with an identity crisis

-Paul and Sarah

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