10 Feb 2014 Oysterbed update from Chris Cockburn

It’s that time of the year again and I have pleasure in posting Chris’ usual update of life at the Oysterbed site. Keep looking out for more news as the year rolls out.

Hello folks
Things are beginning to happen at Hayling Oysterbeds – as I walked towards the lagoon I was serenaded by several Mediterranean gulls and as I got closer to the lagoon, I heard a more raucous but familiar medley off sounds.

There were c60 black-headed gulls acting territorially atop the lagoon’s two islands and six Med gulls doing likewise. Not one of the gulls was in 100% breeding plumage  – but it will not be long..!!

I am not sure if Med gulls have been on the islands at such an early date before; but given the ideal feeding conditions on the grasslands this wet-winter, they are probably in tip-top condition.

Also present were a few common gulls and two herring gulls – none of which were acting territorially.

No goldeneyes or red-breasted mergansers this afternoon; but six little grebes, four oystercatchers and one curlew were present (along with the usual brent goose family group with three youngsters).

So territorial behaviour has started four days earlier than in 2012; it is, presumably, unlikely that any nesting attempts will be made before the end of March.

Chris C

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