Sunday 2 August 2020

Sunday 2nd August

Fresher, far less humid and a south-westerly air-stream was a return to prevailing conditions and with this make a sense of normality in the range of bird-life present today, but still some interest persisted. On the high tides in the estuary and along the beach beyond groyne 9, the demarcation where the Bylaw applies and beyond which dogs are not permitted to enter, there were 607 Oystercatcher, 385 Curlew, 154 Redshank, 69 Ringed Plover52 Sandwich Tern37 Dunlin, 25 Sanderling, 19 Whimbrel, 15 Mediterranean Gull (4 juv, 4 fs, 7 adult); 15 Mute Swan, seven Greenshank, ten Great Black-backed Gullsix Lesser Black-backed Gullfive Canada Goosefour Common Gull, four Common Ternthree Little Egret, three Bar-tailed Godwit, two Kingfisher, two Teal, a Grey Heron and the Slavonian Grebe. And again two Stock Dove were on the railway embankment. 

The sight of eight mixed age Moorhen together on the Main Pond prompted the question again of - what counts? For nidicolous passerines the straightforward standard is to count individuals once they are out of the nest and more-or-less fledged, but this is not so straightforward for most nidifugous waterbirds, especially if precocial. Since many young fall victim to predation and other natural causes, its not representative to count chicks at this time; so when to drawn the line? The Wetland Bird Survey (WeBS) methodology is followed by which juveniles that have survived to become at least two-thirds grown are counted. However, the recording of young birds is also valuable for e.g. working out productivity. So, in the case of our eight Moorhen, four were adults, three were mostly grown first-brood juveniles and the last was a dinky fluffy chick, so that is recorded on 'BirdTrack' as as a count of 7 and in the comments one can put "7 plus a chick". If also adding a BTO breeding evidence code, this nidifugous chick has left the nest but it isn't fledged, so the 'NY - nest with young' code to used (not 
'FL'). Different codes apply if recording under the BTO's Nest Record Scheme.

A juv Shelduck in off the sea otherwise little until the evening with totals of 
26 Common Scoter23 Gannet, a trickle of commuting Kittiwake and rising from the sea to intercept them two skua sp. plus an adult pale-phase Pomarine Skua.  Single figures and fewer warblers in the bushes than recently with migrant species present in the form of four Willow Warbler and three Sedge Warbler were on Warren Point.  Also the juv Redstart still, two Wheatear and a male Reed Bunting.

Better passage in the evening, totals overhead were c.40 Swallow three House Martin and a Swift.

Wildlife news: a helice Clouded Yellow, Painted Lady and Red Admiral. Two Bottle-nosed Dolphin were a long way offshore.

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