Oysterbeds Update 16 June 2014 – Chris Cockburn

Hello folks

Firstly, the not-so-good news – the four most recent high tides, peaking at c5m on 15 June at 01:35 have resulted in the numbers of ‘apparently nesting’ common terns being reduced from 74 to 51; but, since only eggs were lost, it is highly likely that the ‘failed’ pairs will find sufficient food  for the females to return egg-laying condition. Meanwhiles, a survey carried out by Wez Smith (the RSPB Site Manager) on 15 June showed that there were 29 apparently nesting common terns (making the harbour total 103 common tern nests this year).

Wez also reported that, so far (fingers crossed!!), little terns were doing well on the harbour islands.

During the high tide period at the Oysterbeds today, gull activity could only be described as a noisy-mayhem! The tide height was worryingly high and many of the black-headed gull families temporarily lost their territories and moved elsewhere (not a good idea for these fearfully territorial animals). Some swam out the period,; but the gulls do not like to see (other brood) chicks on the water (presumably, swimming chicks might attract avian predators). So, chicks afloat were being attacked by non-related gulls while the shepherding parents rapidly launched into noisy defensive attacks on the attackers, yes, mayhem! The upshot was very noisy and often resulted in (apparently) ferocious interactions (from even the smallest of BH chicks!). The common terns were only too happy to join in the frays – they are just as “feisty” as the gulls.

Good news, two oystercatcher chicks have been taken to the new shingle recharge by their parents – the family might be from the lagoon islands but are more likely to be from one of the northern bunds and it will be a few months before true success can be reported (almost uniquely amongst wader chicks, oystercatcher chicks are “taught” for several months  by their parents on how to get food (most wader chicks are able to feed themselves very quickly) – not oysters, of course!!

And now for the different things, it’s probably not the most frequently sighted animal in the lagoon, but a probable “Barrel” jellyfish – attached very poor photo (Rhizostoma octopus or Rhizostoma pulmo – maximum diameter of c90cm); it/they have generally been described by the media in terms of  “invasion of enormous, giant (choose your own ridiculous adjective!!) jellyfish – please follow link http://www.marine-conservation.org.uk/ukjellyfish.html and scroll down for more details of the creature.

Possible "Barrel” jellyfish. - Chris Cockburn Submitted by peterd on Tue, 17/06/2014 - 08:21

Possible “Barrel” jellyfish. – Chris Cockburn

Finally, the dare-I-say-it “not so environmentally helpful shellfisher-folk” – who, having dredged the harbour so much this year  probably resulting in nothing to take for themselves for the next few years might best be described as being ‘stupid’ (for starters) and  utterly contemptible for them being so “stupid/thick”. Perhaps it was no surprise that  the  dredger “P 6” even came into the bay behind the lagoon at 16:40  today! (please see not very good photo)

Clam Dredger - Chris Cockburn Submitted by peterd on Tue, 17/06/2014 - 08:26

Clam Dredger – Chris Cockburn


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