MAY 2010 BIRD NOTES
May Highlights: Great Northern Diver, Red Kite, Osprey, Hobby, Sanderling, Turnstone, Mediterranean Gull, Black Tern, Cuckoo and Pied Flycatcher.
The long staying adult Great Northern Diver was last seen flying around in full summer plumage on 8th. There are no broods of Grebe, Swan, Barnacle Geese, Moorhen or Coot yet but, hopefully, this is only due to the late Spring, and June will be catch-up time. There was only 1 further brood of Mallard to add to last month’s total of 4 broods, probably another indicator of delayed breeding for these water birds. Significant wildfowl counts were all from the WeBS survey on 16th and included 16 Little Grebe, 40 Great Crested Grebe, 40 Mallard, 147 Tufted Duck and 57 Coot. Additionally, there was a Shelduck on 8th, 10th and 17th and a female Scaup, present from April, was last seen on 7th.
A Red Kite drifted over Sheepwash on 2nd and an Osprey perched on a buoy for an hour consuming a fish before flying up Fishtail Creek on 26th. The first Hobby was noted on 2nd and a Peregrine flew over on 1st. There has been little Buzzard activity recorded and there are no signs of breeding, which is not surprising following the well publicised local find of 6 dead buzzards, suspected of being poisoned.
At least 6 pairs of Oystercatchers have so far only produced 1 brood of 3, first noted on 5th on Millfields Island. Last month’s Lapwing brood on Big Island showed 2 well grown young on 17th and there were further broods of 4 on 16th and 3 on 26th, both on Horseshoe Island. A pair of Redshank with 2 young were on Big Island on 12th. Passage waders included a Ringed Plover on 12th and 20th, 2 Sanderling on 12th, a Dunlin on 1st and following days, 3 Black-tailed Godwit on 5th, 1 Bar-tailed Godwit on 21st, 15 Whimbrel on 8th, 2 Curlew on 10th, a Greenshank flying through on 10th, 3 Common Sandpiper on 7th and a Turnstone from 7th to 11th.
A first summer Mediterranean Gull on HorseshoeIslandon 1st obviously stayed over from 30th May and an adult Little Gull was also on the island on 22nd. The Black-headed Gull colony at the Wildlife Centre took over the tern raft again, forcing off a nesting Moorhen. These gulls seem to have squeezed what looks like 8 nests onto the raft and 2 young were noted on 29th. A pair also have a nest on Horseshoe Island and another pair have bred on the raft at Paul Stanley Hide, showing 3 young on 31st. Three Common Terns were noted from 1st and a pair have settled on Flat Island again this year. The maximum number of Arctic Terns was 6 feeding off Stones Island on 7th and a Black Tern was present on 27-28th.
Three Stock Doves were feeding on spilled seed in Sheepwash car park on 13th, a Cuckoo was noted near Middle Wood on 19th, and a Barn Owl on 15th and a Tawny Owl on 16th were both around Sheepwash. The first Grey Wagtail since early January was recorded on 2nd. A Redstart was singing near the Wildlife Centre on 1st and there was a male Whinchat on the dam wall on 5th. A Greenland race female Wheatear, a Sedge and a Reed Warbler were all seen on 1stand 13 Garden Warblers plus 42 Blackcaps plus 29 Willow Warblers were counted on a circular walk on 17th. A Spotted Flycatcher was noted from 23rd, 2 singing Pied Flycatchers on 13th, a pair of Raven with 3 young on 20th, 4 Linnet on 2nd and a Bullfinch was heard singing on the Club Dawn Chorus Walk on 8th.
106 Species recorded compared with 108 in May 2009, 112 in 2008, 103 in 2007, 107 in 2006, 107 in 2005, 114 in 2004 and 110 in 2003.