Harbour Update – posted 22/05/17

This morning we were out early recceing the ‘Gull Islands’ to see how far along the colony was after it was discovered during our survey two weeks ago that the breeding season seemed to have been late. By early May most Black-headed Gull nests should have been full and the Med Gulls should have also been beginning to lay, however during our survey on May 7th and 8th it was clear that many gulls of both species hadn’t started laying yet. Luckily, it was also clear during that survey in early May that there were no signs of egg collecting as not a single footprint was found on any of the islands. Our recce this morning proved successful with not a single empty nest seen and the first chick found meaning that almost all the eggs would now be beyond ‘the picking stage’, rendering them useless to restaurants. Our team will be out first thing tomorrow morning to re-survey all three of the islands and we’re hoping the colony of Black-headed Gulls will be back up to around the 6000 nests mark. Who knows how many Mediterranean Gulls we’ll find but 9 Med nests were seen during the recce this morning. On Hartland (May 21st) there were 3 Hobby hawking over the heath with 1 Cuckoo, 2 Wheatear and a Spotted Flycatcher also in the Hartland area with 4 Nightjar calling on Coombe Heath, Arne. Hobby were also again over the Arne Road/Slepe heath area. At Lytchett Fields there was a single Grey Plover and 88 Black-tailed Godwit. At Holton Pools 2 Reed Warbler, Reed Bunting, 1 Greenshank and a flock of 15 House Martin were viewed from the new hide. With many birds in summer plumage and staying put for long periods of time in a certain area, late May and early June provide a great opportunity to watch, listen and study birds properly. Learning a birds behavior, sounds and daily routine can really enhance your ID skills and bettering and enhancing your field craft will without a doubt provide you with better birding experiences. Also, as we crawl into June, not wanting spring migration to come to an end we can already begin to think about the autumn with June often hosting the first returning Green Sandpipers heading south. 

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