Tuesday, 24 July 2018

20180724 Black Darter Dersingham Bog

Black Darter
2nd visit and only the one male seen.

20180719 Emerald Damselfly 
RSPB Dragonfly workshop on 19th at Dersingham Bog
20180719 Emerald Damselfly

Tuesday, 17 July 2018

20180717 Lesser Yellowlegs RSPB Titchwell

Lesser Yellowlegs
Adult breeding from Island Hide.

Lesser Yellowlegs
The ultimate pose except for tibia deep water...

20180731 Lesser Yellowlegs
On 31st the bird stayed out in the middle of Freshmarsh but is still identifiable on leg colour
through the heat haze. 
19970829 Lesser Yellowlegs
29th August 1997 Ryan's Field the Hayle Estuary.
(Named to celebrate the birth of a NT warden who latterly toiled on The Lizard and NNCoast) 
Also an adult with retained breeding plumage.
An over baked acrylic....
Ian's excellent field sketch and notes from 17th.
The Yellowlegs performed well and gave us the ideal rare bird field sketching session.
Performance under pressure from a busy Island Hide, failure was not an option...

Ian's considered studio pencil sketch of the bird.
At one with his subject following great dedication.
Next we invade Poland with colour.

Monday, 9 July 2018

20180709 Little London Corpusty Telephone Box display panel

Little London Corpusty.
Telephone Box display panel featuring the Corpusty plough, railway station tearooms, message bearing Swifts, Yellowflag, Otter looking back through time, 19th century view of hamlet, the well on The Street and Common Mallow.
Display panel production crew.

Tuesday, 3 July 2018

20180703 Colour Ringed Black-tailed Godwit RSPB Titchwell

Black-tailed Godwit icelandica
2 CR birds on Freshmarsh became the subject of the sketching class.
Strangely neither bird has been recorded at Cley, but the left hand birds right leg ring colours are not well determined.
Ringing data returned if the off white was once lime green indicated an individual not seen for 10 years... so doubtful.
No data as yet on RNR-YGY, but should be more conclusive.

Black -tailed Godwit
This bird looks to have a data logger on its left leg.
Also lettering on white ring right leg.
CR Avocet also in shot.
20180717 Black-tailed Godwit
Bird with aerial for satellite tracking seen on the 17th...? 
Has a name and has returned from Iceland, more data to follow.

Sunday, 1 July 2018

20180701 Kestrel on Little Tern chicks Blakeney Point

Kestrel appeared hovering briefly over west end of enclosures putting up all Little Terns, about 60 birds. 
Then flew low East along ridge whilst being mobbed.

Little Tern grabbing and striking Kestrel but fails to divert it from its attack run.

Kestrel took one hop on the ground then grabbed chick.
Appeared to be able to see chicks from low level flight.

Very small chick in left talons.

Male Kestrel then flew a short distance and landed within enclosure amongst sea-blight cover.
Over 7 Kestrel visits were recorded to the colony the previous day!?

Kestrel sitting on deck in shade of sea-blight and still being mobbed by Terns.
Bird seemed very bold and would not easily flush away from the colony.
Noted an abundance of Kestrel attacks in log over last two days and communicated with wardens.
The eastern enclosures colony has been wiped out.... by Kestrel??

From a very positive position as reported in last month's article the Little Tern colony on the Blakeney Spit has met with a major setback this season. From the 20th May Kestrels were recorded about the colony enclosure and their interest grew throughout June. Each visit by Kestrel  causes all the Little Terns on the shingle to rise up as one to meet with and mob it as it hovers and swoops over the colony. Unfortunately this does not deter  the raptor from its intended attack route and surveillance run low over the shingle ridge.
 By the 30th June over six visits daily were being witnessed by volunteers , during the monitored middle period alone, involving  two if not three Kestrels. The 1st of July saw the end of any nesting activity in the eastern enclosure and a few pairs desperately defending chicks left in the western enclosure. A male Kestrel now using the site as a drive through and sitting on the deck within the colony digesting its take away. A week later and all chick rearing activity had stopped with only two pairs of Little Tern feigning nesting rituals on empty scrapes.

It is widely known that  Avian predation is harder to manage than ground predation at tern colonies, as aerial access to the nest scrape has to be maintained , so allowing predatory birds in as well. In Britain, Little Terns nest in fairly mono-specific colonies so predation from other species sharing a location is minimal. Nest boxes have been tried for a number of species and the success has been mixed. Roseate Terns seem to take to these most readily, as on Coquet Island, but this is possibly because they prefer nesting in dense cover and nest boxes provide  a familiar alternative, unlike the minimal open scrape nesting of the Little Tern.

 It is also well documented that Individual avian predators that specialise in, and fixate on predation of terns often account for most losses at a tern colony. It may be that the most effective management is to target them specifically and Kestrels are top of the list in this respect. Supplementary feeding of Kestrels has been attempted with some effect in the past so as to provide an alternative prey source and decrease attacks on the tern colonies. It has been difficult to prove the effectiveness of the method and it may artificially maintain a high predator population producing a detrimental impact on the terns in future years. Kestrels have habituated to human efforts to deter them, static or active as I found with the male on the 1st July which would not flush away from the colony until the third attempt. They have also been recorded extracting chicks from funnelled shelters provided for protection but in this case chicks had not moved from their nest scrapes when the kestrels located them and attacked.

Lethal control of predators has frequently been considered but most conservation bodies shy away from this approach on humane grounds and to avoid negative publicity... This season the NT made every effort and went to great expense to create a secure site and also identified the rogue predators at the earliest possible juncture. Unfortunately and without due care and attention a timely managerial response, specifically targeted to the threat, was not forthcoming until after the predation event was over....??