Friday, 25 July 2014

Spurn Day 16

 Once more the day started off with thick fog, and sleep. When I awoke the situation was improving for once or at least on the weather front. I had slept through the wader roost, but since I could hardly have seen them anyways it seems little loss. There was no sign of the curlew sand from the last few days, probably skulking in the fog until it cleared, then headed off to the Humber to feed.
The usual cast were all present, but I learned today that the Sandwich Terns on the pond are actually from a population in Holland. The things that ringing can teach you.
There was good movement of Little Gull all morning, with 6 birds moving at 8.45 but peaking to at least 11 by 9.30. Many of these were adults but there were a couple of first years around, one of which stayed all day. They are lovely birds Little Gulls, wholly underappreciated.
-Little Gull
I actually did not spend much time at the hide today, as a long haul shopping trip was required mid-day. I just worry about the amount of bother the terns were getting from the public, as there seemed to be an excess of blatantly ignorant people around, who simply ignored your requests to tell them to move.
The only thing bothering the colony besides the people was a Juvenile Greater Black-Backed Gull, with which the terns were fine if the gull sat next to them, but if it was in flight was a cause to rise and call and mob the bird. The GBBG must have been very confused. The only other predator was an Arctic Skua out to sea, but it did not approach the colony, probably as a consequence of the horse riders along the shore. I grabbed a few truly awful record shots, but they will do.
-Arctic Skua
The real fun of today occurred when Paul and Tim came up to the colony to do some ringing of the young terns. Our systematic searches failed to find any on the shoreline or in Area B, where we expected but in area A we found 3, one of which was old enough to ring. I was allowed to hold the bird too, a real honour, while it was photographed.
Since we had got a fairly poor turnout from the terns, not unsurprising given most were now juveniles, Paul decided to try and ring some Ringed Plover. These chicks were well on their feet and present slightly more of a challenge than the terns, which were very docile. There were 3 Ringed Plover chicks, so that was one each. I swear mine was the liveliest, as it darted around, Zig Zagging all over the place and going under frustrating fences. I eventually got it after about a minuet of chasing, involving dives and near misses, and despair. Once in the hand though they were very docile and easy to deal with. Tim rung them and then we let them go. It was one of the most fun things I have done since I got here, and that is saying something.
-Ringed Plover
I had intended to stay a little longer today, as compensation for the extended break, but at 5.00 the sea fret made a return and within 5 mins it had gone from decent visibility to hardly being able to see anything. As a result I decided to call it quits there, since there seemed little point in staying.
So despite it being quiet overall it was one of the most enjoyable days I have had and the chasing of the ringed plovers was something I will never forget.

The Daily Oystercatcher
Another fairly standard day for the Oyks, with much feeding and wing stretching going on. Once more the birds tended to stay in pairs, although one chick was left to wander on its own for a bit when its adult decided to go for a kip on one of the crab pots. Of course, as the chicks are unable to fly, the adults went bezerk when we were rounding up the plovers for ringing, but they tended to stay away despite the adults obvious frustration.

Species List:
Beacon Pools: Grey Plover, Little Tern, Sandwich Tern, Common Tern, Arctic Tern, Ringed Plover, Dunlin, Oystercatcher, Little Egret, Swallow, Woodpigeon, Greater Black-Backed Gull, Lesser Black-Backed Gull, Black-Headed Gull, Cormorant, Skylark, Mute Swan, Gannet, Little Gull, Swift, Mallard, Sanderling, whimbrel, Arctic Skua, Pheasant, Sand Martin, Redshank, Grey Seal, Brown Hare

1 comment:

  1. Littel gulls are very special, I agree. Great shots of the Ringed Plover chicks too they are special too and especially so when in the hand as I found out the other day with a juvenile Swift.