Oysterbed update 14 May 2014 – Chis Cockburn

Hello folks

Not a great deal has changed since the last update except that the first black-headed gull chicks have been seen. One chick (please see attached photo – look for the curved steel reinforcement bar) looked as if it was one or two days old and a brood of three (not in photo) very recently hatched chicks. These chicks were at the north-eastern end of the East (curved) island.

BH Chick 04

First Black headed gull chicks – Image Chris Cockburn

Confirmation photo, 2 chicks can be seen here – Image Peter Drury

A count of black-headed gull nests (telescoped observations from the footpaths surrounding the lagoon) gave 677 nests (335 on the West (straight) island and 342 nests on the East (curved) island. The total is considerably less than last year (1149 nests). It is likely that the E island count is less accurate due to the loss of most of the lettered pegs and to the habitat now being predominantly rubble, both factors being a result of the winter storms.

A keen-sighted volunteer is needed to count the Mediterranean gull nests (today’s counter, “Blind Pugh”, had difficulty in differentiating some of the gulls and ended up with a dodgy total of 14 nests). At high tide, today there were at least 40 common terns on the Stoke bay Spit

Common terns are still looking interested in the site, but have not yet taken the plunge and selected nesting sites; however, they certainly have been taking plunges to get prey (sorry about that!!)

The three pairs of oystercatchers in the lagoon have all been seen looking for suitable nesting sites, but, so far, with no determined effort.


Chris C


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