Thursday, 2 August 2012

Bunny Meadows - 29th July 2012

There was no bird ringing for me today, partly because I was just too tired, and partly because I would have been the only one there, so potentially a lot of effort for little return, well based on the last few sessions anyway. Instead I opted for a 7am start and a stroll along Bunny Meadows on the rising tide. There have been a few good autumn waders in the west of the county at Pennington Marshes, so I was hopeful that it would be my turn to find one.

The tide was already pretty high when I arrived and the Turnstones had been pushed up close to the sea wall, so I was able to get excellent views of them doing what they do best....turning stones.

Turnstone - Bunny Meadows

In all there were 32 just scattered along the foreshore, they were so confiding that I was able to spend a bit of time photographing them and enjoying their incessive chitter chatter as the bickered over a tasty morsel. It was interesting to see that whilst some birds were busy turning stones, another standing nearby would pretend to be doing the same, but as a grub was exposed it would run in a snatch it from beneath the others stone....very sneaky!

Turnstone - Bunny Meadows

Last time I was here there were good numbers of waders present, despite it being very early in the season, and this visit was the same. In total I counted 45 Common Redshank, three Greenshank, 14 Eurasian Curlew, 11 Whimbrel, two Grey Plover, seven Lapwing and a single Dunlin. Black-tailed Godwits were again present in good numbers, with at least 43 present, but it was difficult to count this species as some were nestled right down in the tussocks.

Black-tailed Godwits

I would normally expect to see a few colour-ringed birds amoung the scattered groups, but unfortunately this time there were none, which was a shame, but I will keep looking. Three birds were roosting on the edge of a sea locked island, and although they were over 50 metres away they were very wary, and kept a close eye on my movements.

Black-tailed Godwits

Black-headed Gulls were the most numerous species, with 147 roosting on the islands, along with single first summer Mediterranean Gull and Common Tern, and as I was counting the gulls an adult sandwich tern flew by.

Black-headed Gulls and Common Tern

Continuing on I soon came across a pair of Oystercatchers, who were incredibly wary and constantly 'Kleeping' at me, I assumed it was because I was paying them an un-necessarily high amount of attention because they were both wearing colour rings.....but as it turned out that was not the case.

Colour-ringed Oystercatcher - Bunny Meadows

I think I have seen both of these birds before, but on looking through my records I could not find any detail, so I will contact the person who ringed them and let you know when I find out, although I suspect they were ringed at either Hamble Point or Cracknore Hard, but we will see.

Colour-ringed Oystercatcher - Bunny Meadows

Anyway, going back to why these birds were so alarmed was suddenly evident. My attention was so focused on making sure I had got the right colour combinations, that I hadn't noticed the fluffy little brown chick, gingerly wandering around on the top of the tiny island.

Newly Hatched Oystercatcher
I must admit I am not really sure how late Oystercatchers normally breed, but I presume this is a new attempt after a failiure, rather than a second brood. This chick was on a tiny island very close to the shore and I could have easily walked out and picked it up, so it is going to be extremely vulnerable to both predators and an out of control dog!...I will try and keep you posted on its progress.

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