JULY 2011 BIRD NOTES
Highlights: Little Egret, Red Kite, Mediterranean Gull, Grasshopper Warbler and Crossbill.
By the end of July, this year’s numbers of broods totalled: Little Grebe 1 (1 last year), Great Crested Grebe 3 (8), Mallard 20 (20), Tufted Duck 4 (26), Moorhen 3 (7) and Coot 3 (12). Maximum counts, excluding young, were 5 Little Grebe on 25th, 32 Great Crested Grebe on the official WeBS count carried out on 18th, 24 Cormorant on 29th, 1 Little Egret on 1-4th and 25-31st, 12 Heron on 27th, 22 Mute Swan on 6th plus 6 cygnets, 2 Greylag Geese on 10th, 359 Canada Geese on 18th, 1 juvenile Shelduck on 3rd and 26th, 1 Wigeon on 14th and 23rd, 5 Gadwall on 6th, 4 Teal on 6th, 267 Mallard on 22nd, 4 Pochard on 20th, 182 Tufted Duck on 18th, 4 Common Scoter on 21st and 30th, 8 Goosander on 27th and 408 Coot on 18th.
Raptors included 2 Red Kite together over Fishtail Creek on 29th at 1845hrs before gliding off northeast, Sparrow Hawk carrying prey on 6th and 25th, 6 Buzzards on 13th and at least 2 young calling from woodland on 28th, 2 Kestrel on 25th and many records of Peregrines, with 3 together over Hopton Arm on 31st.
Little Ringed Plover have taken advantage of the wide shore available this year and bred, showing a brood of 4 on 25th and another brood of 4 on 26th. Wader maximum numbers were 5 Oystercatchers on 23rd, 8 Little Ringed Plover on 29th excluding young, 3 well flighted juvenile Ringed Plover on 11th, at least 50 Lapwing on 18th, a Sanderling at the Wildlife Centre on 19th, 7 Dunlin on 18th, an early Snipe on 30th, 3 Black-tailed Godwit on 11th and singles on many dates, 1 Curlew on 11th, 4 Redshank on 18th, 5 Greenshank on 13th, 2 Green Sandpiper on 28th and a site record 18 Common Sandpipers on 18th.
A well flighted juvenile Mediterranean Gull was at the Wildlife Centre on 19th. This is the first juvenile recorded on site and one asks where has it travelled from. An adult Med Gull was also at the Wildlife Centre on 21st. Black-headed Gull numbers totalled 270 on 20th including 55 juveniles, but not all had hatched here. There were 4 Common Gulls on 20-22nd and Lesser Black-backed Gull numbers were increasing, with 180 on 20th. The winter resident adult Yellow-legged Gull was on site from 3rd and seen devouring a smallish mammal on 4th thought to be a mole, followed by a Little Grebe on 13th, surprised it could find one! Other Yellow-legged Gulls were on site, with 5 recorded on 21st. Common Terns were passing through in very small numbers, with a maximum of 5 on 23rd and 1 Arctic Tern on 22nd.
Swifts looked to be feeding young in the eaves of the Visitor Centre early in the month and 50 were noted passing through on 13th. An adult and a juvenile Green Woodpecker were together at Millfields on 13th. Early passage was noted with a Meadow Pipit on the dam wall on 22nd, a Yellow Wagtail on Sheepwash Spit on 25th and a Wheatear on the dam wall on 28th. A Grasshopper Warbler was heard reeling near Millfields Island on 23rd and remained until 27th. A Reed Warbler family were seen in Hopton Arm Reedbed on 17th and a pair of Spotted Flycatcher were feeding 3 just fledged youngsters in Penn Carr on 13th. A nationwide Crossbill movement has been well noted here with fly-overs of 3 on 13th, 6 on 22nd, at least 1 on 23rd, 2 on 24th and 12 on 26th. Finally one observer reported 2 bizarre predations occurring within one half hour on 30th. A mole, crawling across the hard foreshore towards vegetation, in front of Sheepwash Hide, was attacked, killed and taken by 3 Magpies, only to be followed by a Southern Hawker dragonfly taken in mid-air by a Blackbird.
105 Species were recorded this month (well above the former July record of 102 in 2004), compared with 91 in July 2010, 95 in 2009, 97 in 2008, 94 in 2007, 94 in 2006 and 97 in 2005.