Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Gull watching and wader chicks!


With both of the Gulls from the previous Gull watching session having lingered, I again took the opportunity to drop in and have a look. It didn't take long to stop the 1st winter LITTLE GULL feeding over the open water.  It steadfastly refused to land however, but that meant that the gorgeous black 'w' pattern was showing, which is always a treat!
It dip-fed constantly, but not wanting to hang around for too long, a scan across the islands, and a check on the Orchids and I moved to the flashes as news have came out of a couple of chicks that had hatched.

News had emerged that an LRP chick had hatched a single chick, and it was showing very nicely on the flooded grassland in front of the hide. These little bundle's of fluff always put a smile on my face, and it was great to watch it scurrying about in the short grass with parents in close attendance!

The parents were as vigilant as possibly can be, but it came as no surprise to hear that a few days later the chick was sadly predated by a large gull, a common fate to many of the LRP chicks in the county. Needless to say, productivity is generally low.

On the south shore of the flash, the 1st summer Mediterranean Gull was sleeping among the young and non-breeding flock of Black-headed Gulls, but it did eventually wake up, have a brief wing stretch, showing off its brilliant white underwing, and then fly off south.

5 Shelduck were dotted around the Flashes, and a male was escorting a single chick around, which is a very unusual occurrence on site, as they rarely breed. Despite protecting the chick in close attendance, he seemed to have sadly 'lost' the other chick which was swimming around on the 3rd flash being attacked by Black-headed Gulls. Both of the chicks were still alive and kicking by dark however and the Black-heads had calmed down. Interestingly, or sadly given your point of view, it was only the 1st summer Black-headed Gulls that were attacking the chicks, the adults being pre-occupied in 'other' activities. It suggests that the young bird's (which usually disperse through the summer) which have stayed on and around the reserve are more mischievous, and hence have been causing a fair amount of disturbance, which is quite sad.

It was good however to see the first returning flock of Teal to the site, with 6 being present. A singing male Garden Warbler was singing nearby, which is an unusual bird to have on site, and it looked very fond of an area of blackthorn.

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