Monday, 18 April 2011

WEBS today

While taking part in the monthly WEBS count this lunch time I came across the first specimens of St. Mark's Fly along the seawall, seen below on the flower head of an Alexanders plant. These black flies swarm in large numbers and are easily recognised by the way that they fly with their long legs dangling down. They only live for a week and are supposed to fly on or around St. Mark's Day - 25th April, perhaps by being a week early these ones thought they might get an extra week's life.

The WEBS count itself was carried out under blue skies but with a distant haze and an almost chilly and fresh E. wind. Out of the wind it was very warm, as I imagine it was inland. What has surprised me over the last couple of days, well perhaps not surprised, is that after the longest and coldest winter for many years and after just a few days of lovely weather, some people are already saying "I hope its not going to be too hot this summer" - please - let's have a bit of warm and sunny weather before we start moaning about it being too hot again.

Anyway, back to the WEBS and while I don't know what the counts for the two main roost sites at either end of the roost are yet, for Shy Songbird I can say that at one of them, Shellness Point, where my Saturday blog showed 300 Oystercatchers, that had a high tide count today of 2,000 Oystercatchers.
I count the middle, marsh part of the reserve and my counts reflected the lower, Spring/Summer numbers of birds:-

4 Little Grebe - 1 Little Egret - 2 Grey Heron - 4 Mute Swan - 12 Greylag Geese - 120 Shelduck - 2 Wigeon - 6 Gadwall - 10 Teal - 50 Mallard - 2 Pintail - 14 Shoveler - 18 Pochard - 6 Tufted Duck - 2 Moorhen - 40 Coot - 60 Oystercatcher - 18 Avocet - 110 Lapwing - 2 Snipe - 50 Curlew - 90 Redshank - 40 Black-headed Gull - 6 Lesser BB Gull - 40 Herring Gull.

Being a count that concentrates on waders and wildfowl I have not included the other birds seen today but can mention a ring-tailed Hen Harrier that flew along the saltings, helping me by putting up the Redshank and Curlew that I hadn't seen hidden there.

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