Friday, 29 July 2016

Tern breeding success

My lack of posts over the last couple of months is not because I have abandoned the reservoirs but simply because the regular visits have given me very little to write about. In fact, apart from the Med Gulls which I have failed to see, it has been what you expect for the summer. When Thames Water drew the water down on Lockwood earlier this month to produce a very good edge, we did collectively find six species of waders - LRP, Common Sand, Dunlin, Greenshank, Redshank and six over-flying Whimbrel - to prove the 'drain it and they will come' adage. But once the water levels returned to normal after a week so did the waders which have, by and large, been limited to Common Sandpipers. Even when I found a long grass snake skin on the side of Lockwood, I discovered Jamie had already seen it.

Today's visit was similarly lacklustre except for finding at least four well-grown young Common Terns on the raft on Lockwood. Given the way you now get mobbed by the anxious parents just for walking on the bank, they must have a good chance of surviving the gulls.
                                                            Young and proud parent


I can't remember any terns breeding on Lockwood last year, although there was a fair bit of displaying and pair bonding late into the season, and the one young I saw peeping out of the weeds on the raft on East Warwick, unsurprisingly, did not last long. According to NB who looked today, I think it is the same story this year. So let's keep our fingers crossed.

I counted at least six Common Sands on Lockwood and there was another on the mud islands which have formed in the over-flow channel which are certainly worth scanning as the autumn progresses. And with a young Willow Warbler in the tit flock on the central path, it is definitely - thank god - on its way.....

DB @porthkillier

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