Aside from the glorious
weather in the last week on Havergate, what else has been going on?
The breeding season is
starting to gather momentum. The gulls have taken a little while to
get going but both the lesser black backed gulls and herring gulls
are now on eggs, though there is still less than 200 nests in total.
Compared to last year this feels like a slower start which is perhaps
an accurate assessment as by the 17th of May the first
Herring gull chicks had hatched. This looks unlikely to be replicated
Common terns have
returned to Cottage flood and look likely to breed again.
Interestingly, this is much earlier than last year. It remains to be
seen how they'll cope with the increased predation pressure that
nesting earlier in the season will bring. A lot depends on density
and numbers of nesting and how effective our nest protection is.
However, it is great to have these charismatic birds back, they
certainly bring life and excitement to the island.
Commons gulls are still
hanging around their usual spot but I won't expect them to be on eggs
until early June. They are beginning to look increasingly settled
with pair bonding In the upcoming week the blue rope that stops
undue disturbance will be going up. This should enable them to settle
and get about the business of nesting and raising chicks.
Avocets sadly are
absent from the island at this moment. Its not impossible that we
will still see some return to the island to breed, last year the
birds didn’t return until late May but it is likely to be failed
breeders from other sites rather than a colony of our own.
The barn owl's are on
eggs in the usual place. After a flurry of activity in early April
sightings have reduced again. This is a classic sign that the birds
have gone to ground to incubate eggs, we should expect to see an
increase in barn owl activity in late May early June.
As for the other birds,
the first goslings of both canada geese and greylag geese have
hatched this week. Oystercatchers, Shelducks and various passerines
are all starting there nesting.
We should start to get some numbers of breeding birds in the next couple of weeks as the survey season begins in earnest.
Passage birds have been
few and far between on Havergate however. Highlights in the last week
where a stonechat quite likely to be the only record this spring and
even perhaps the only record all year, yellow wagtails have been
frequenting the island but not in the same numbers as last year. A
juvenile Spoonbill was on the island briefly on Friday, the lack of
spoonbills in the spring months as been disappointing but Bar tailed
godwits, Whimbrels and Common sandpipers have been passing through
the island in the last week