Saturday, 18 May 2013

Swallows - Sea and other

Forked tails and tail streamers are the name of the game here.
Being on a small island tends to change your perspective a bit but I reckon just  about everyone, island or not, gets a real lift when "their " swallows come back each spring. And we are no exception. Last year we had swallows breeding on the island for only the second time in 18 years so it was magic to see them back around the island, this time it looks like 3 pairs might breed. I am sure I recognise one of the birds from last year but I could be mistaken. So we will be watching the outbuildings here on Fluke Street very carefully as well as the Wash house at the top of the island for nest building though it does seem a bit cold to produce much in the way of food for them .

 The other forked tails, the sea swallows are also back. "Our" terns have been making early morning appearences over the Beacon but heading off out to sea again for a week or so but the last day or so they have been staying longer and coming to ground more. They are such beautifully put together birds with the pitch black cap, soft dove grey wings and those bright plastic red bill and feet. Over the next few months we will be spending a lot of our island time focussed on trying to allow these birds to breed succesfully. This will mean much time in the hides but it is already good to see that some of the birds are taking a look at the tern nesting platforms that the volunteers put some much time into building in brutal weather at the beginning of the season. So here we go on the roller coaster ride of a tern breeding season.

View of the colonty.

Nesting platform inspection.

The local oystercatchers that nest in the tern colony will be in two minds, the terns protect them fro gull predation but oh the noisy neighbours.

Some of the nesting paltforms all ready to go.

The tern watching hide up at the Beacon, all spruced up and reapired by Kerry, one of our long-term volunteers.

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