Terns hang around

The winds eased slightly today, getting wild again tomorrow. Rain pretty much on and off all day.Only two reports so far, hopefully more laterMediterranean gull 1 adult plus 2  x 2nd calendar year flew south, early in the tide from Red  Nab. …

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Egrets, We Have A Few

One doesn’t need to spend much time on the reserve at the moment to be made fully aware that we are in the midst of the breeding season. It seems that there are young birds everywhere! As visitors make their way around the pathways they can’t help but be met with the sights and sounds of recently fledged warblers, finches and tits. On the pools, gangs of coot with their almost fully-grown youngsters dot the water’s surface while pontoons of duck dabble in growing numbers.

Make sure you check the adult great-crested grebes for young humbug chicks tucked tight into their backs and while on the Causeway make a point of spending some time watching the rapidly growing great black-backed gull youngsters out on the island. These monster-chicks are already dwarfing the nearby loafing cormorants!

 One intriguing sighting relates to a bird that may well have nested in the area for the first time. Prior to the reserve’s temporary closure back in late March, a couple of adult great white egrets were developing their striking breeding plumage. At least one bird was seen regularly at Barrow Scout throughout the spring but with no staff on the reserve we really had no idea whether any more egrets were still present. 

We have been hoping for signs of nesting activity on the reserve for the past couple of years but unfortunately, no monitoring was carried out this spring due to the lockdown. With a small but growing breeding population now established in the UK (including birds nesting at our RSPB Burton Mere Wetlands reserve in Cheshire), we expect that they will mirror the success of their now widespread and familiar cousin, the little egret.

At least one adult bird was still present when we re-opened in late May and then last week, out of the blue, a further three great white egrets appeared – including one juvenile bird! Given how early this is for a young bird to have wandered far and the fact that it was with, and actively following, adult birds suggests that it may well have been raised locally. How locally, we can only begin to guess at this stage.

Did a pair of egrets nest in amongst one of the heronries within a few miles of the reserve or did they actually breed in our reedbeds, undetected? I suppose we may never know but it does at least seem highly probable that this elegant and striking species has bred for the first time in either Lancashire or Cumbria!

Let’s see what happens next year…  

Pic by Mike Malpass          

A good year for Fulmar!

Very strong SW winds all day, heavy driving rain in the morning, more showery by evening.The rain was horizontal at high water 10:30. This was compounded with driving sea spray. You’d have to be a fool to venture along the south wall……. Anyway, thi…

A trip out, a forty year wait over and a hot day

The Safari took the opportunity to venture further afield now that Lockdown is just about over. We arranged a socially distanced meet up with good friend JG at the always brilliant Lunt Meadows Lancashire Wildlife Trust reserve from where we’d recently…

Watching mussels grow!

Light westerly breezes. Some rain for most of the day, but a little sunshine by evening.Not much to report. So far all I have is the merger fare from my check of the skeer at low water 16:40. (MD).Todays title reflects the highlights, it is somewhere b…

Work begins on Holland Wood fish pass

Ribble Rivers Trust
Work begins on Holland Wood fish pass
Holland Wood Weir lies on the River Darwen, close to it’s confluence with the River Ribble and the limit of the tidal Ribble area. The weir was originally constructed toContinue readingWork begi…

From storm to flat calm

There was hardly any breeze this morning, and the sea, that just two days ago was a brown and white tempest, was a blue mirror! Later a gentle west breeze picked up and it was quite warm in the afternoon when the sun came out.Red Nab on late Incoming t…

The First Of July

Last weekend had seen hints of an early irruption of both Siskins and Crossbills from their summer breeding haunts in Scandinavia. So far, the migration had occurred on the east coast, the part of England closest to Scandinavia. “24 June – After …

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Scraping The Barrel

With a blog title like that you can tell that…well…I am scraping the barrel to keep the blog going, as I have very little to report really. The main problem has been the spell of cold, wet, windy weather we have been having recently, and any good d…

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Still a few bits of interest about

The wind quickly eased to almost nothing, mainly overcast with just a few light showers.Harbour and outfalls:  0500-0730. (SC)Little Gull  1 adultMediterranean Gull 1 adultKittiwake 6 adult + 1 2nd cy.Sandwich Tern 4Common Tern 2.Gannet 2.Ful…