Wednesday, 2 May 2018

April Wildlife Round-Up


April has been a month of excitement, with the first Little Tern sighting and nesting well underway for wildfowl and wading birds. Breeding bird surveys continue throughout May.

Breeding birds
Breeding bird surveys on Blakeney Freshes throughout April have recorded 25 Lapwing pairs, with numerous nests found. A pair of Little Ringed Plovers were back on territory by 24th. In the latter half of the month, 28 Avocets were recorded utilising the Freshes with four showing nesting behaviour on the Eye field islands by 29th plus one Blakeney Point. Mallard ducklings were observed on the Freshes from 16th onwards and Greylag Goose goslings from 30th. Three Mallard nests were observed on Far Point between in the first half of the month. The first Redshank nest was observed on 24th. A coordinated Shelduck count across the reserve on 29th recorded 56 pairs. The first Common Terns were observed on Blakeney Point on 6th and first Little Tern on 23rd. On 26th, 350 Sandwich Terns were recorded roosting. It is looking like 2018 will be a late nesting season for Norfolk's Sandwich Terns.


Lapwing nest, Blakeney Freshes (Ajay Tegala)

Swan nest, Blakeney Freshes (Ajay Tegala)

Migrant birds
Numerous migrant Wheatears have been observed on Blakeney Freshes, with eight together on 22nd. Blakeney Point migrant highlights included: first Whimbrel on 13th, two Woodcock on 14th, Cetti’s Warbler on 16th (possibly first record on the Point itself), first Common Redstart on 17th, five Common Cranes over on 18th, first Swift on 23rd, Dotterel on 24th, first Common Whitethroat on 27th plus numerous Ring Ouzels, frequent Eider sightings, Velvet Scoter and several Yellow Wagtails.

Seals
On 20th April, Naga – the Grey Seal pup we rescued on 15th December with a gash in its head – was released at Horsey Beach after healing under the care of RSPCA East Winch rescue centre. As is often the case in the spring, seal numbers have been low, likely due to better fishing elsewhere in the North Sea. Low tide counts are expected to rise throughout May. Common Seal numbers are already rising with 75 counted on 14th April.

Other wildlife
The week commencing 16th April provided lots of butterfly interest on Friary Hills, with Brimstone, Holly Blue and Orange Tip recorded along with several Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock and whites. Lizards were also observed basking. The end of April saw the first Bluebells blooming in Bullfer Grove, our woodland off the A148 east of Bale Garage; well worth a visit in early May. 

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