20th May Langstone Harbour and Oysterbed update from Chris Cockburn

Things are really getting going at the oysterbeds this breeding season. The work carried out by the RSPB in recharging the shingle on the outer bund seems to be paying off handsomely. Little Tern are once more present within the lagoon area.

Take advantage of having a unique experience by visiting the lagoon. RSPB volunteers are usually at hand to assist you.



Hello folks

There are now increasingly larger numbers of black-headed gull chicks to be seen, but the very close proximity of some nests will create problems for these fiercely territorial birds.

It is no surprise that the Oysterbeds’ islands look crowded – there are 1149 black-headed gull nests there (110 more than in 2012). There were 550 nests on NE Island and 599 nests on SW Island – the round figure of 550 is typical of summed totals for bird/nest counts and, perhaps, I did miss one nest on SW Island!

The density of gull nests obviously precludes good numbers of nesting  common terns; however, 8 common tern pairs are fighting for territory (1 on North/East/Banana Island) and 7 on West/South Island).

We really must have a competition to decide on names for these two islands – please do offer suggestions (printable, of course) – we would use the most popular!

There were three Mediterranean gull nests seen – but it is possible that one or two were missed – it will be a case of finding a special viewpoint.

As expected, there were no Sandwich tern nests and, as yet, the 3 pairs of oystercatchers have not found suitable places.

The recently imported shingle (western end of the “NW Bund”) is proving attractive to little terns and to an oystercatcher pair and a common tern pair that might well try nesting there (encouragingly, a ringed plover was there on Sat & Sun). If little terns do nest there, they might become of interest to a kestrel that regularly hunts nearby – hopefully, any little tern chicks will start a new fashion and actually use chick-shelters. So far, no little terns have shown interest in the bare shingle area north east of the lagoon on the “North Spit” (a better name, please?!).

It is hoped that weather conditions will be good enough to do a nest count on the harbour islands soon – the count will have to be done at some time between Wed 22 May &Tue 28 May, before the main hatch starts (eggs are static – small chicks not so!)


Chris C

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