Harbour Update – posted 26/03/14

Migrants are still taking their time at to arrive in any numbers with only very small totals of Wheatear, Chiffchaff and Sand Martin reported so far. However its still early days and I’m pretty sure over the coming weeks numbers will really pick up. There is still plenty to report with the springs first Osprey with one flying low over Baiter Park and another reported in Brands Bay yesterday afternoon also a Little Ringed Plover was at Lytchett Bay. At Swineham 3 Marsh Harrier were very active near last years nest site and 4 Spoonbill flew over the gravel pits. A Red Kite drifted over Middlebere yesterday afternoon and a Red-breasted Goose was reported with 150 Brent Geese. The Surf Scoter is still in Brand Bay with 5 Red-breasted Merganser. There was some interesting newsfrom a ringing session yesterdayinthe north of the harbour where a migrant Chiffchaff that was ringed on the 19th of April last year was re-trapped again yesterday in almost exactly the same bush having migrated south for the winter and come back again highlighting the remarkable precision migrants use when heading back and fourth to their breeding grounds. And finally, some even more exciting news that our Swineham Barn Owls are already sat on one egg! This is such a phenomenal result having only put up the boxes just before Christmas. It’s likely that over the coming days more eggs will be laid until a clutch of between 4-6 eggs are present. Obviously with things going so well there had to be a problem somewhere along the line. Unfortunately due to hardware issues the infra-red bulb inside the box has blown. With the birds now breeding it is not possible to do any camera maintenance as this would create too much disturbance at this stage. The picture during daylight hours is still fantastic but at night the box is plunged into darkness. We will seek to replace the infra-red bulb whilst the chicks are being ringed at about 2.5 weeks old. We’re really sorry about this technical glitch, it just means for the time being you’ll have to watch the birds during the day… you’ll all be in bed when it’s dark anyway!

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