Bird Report - July 2016

There are lots of young birds to admire just now so I expect lots of people have been watching their antics as they beg for food and learn how to search for this themselves.

A lot of young Starlings are resident with us; these are unmistakeable with their brown plumage. The adult birds are already going into their winter plumage and look attractive with their white spots.

Nancy Scott reports that the House Martins are chalking up a success with breeding this year with 4 nests attached to the house and Nancy having great interest in watching the birds come and go as they feed their broods.

Similar to the Martins, but much more plentiful, are Swallows which are easily seen along with their offspring as they are on the wing searching for insects.

Another success this year seems to be Artic Terns which are finding the sand eels so vital to raise their young. I have regularly seen terns flying across the front of the house carrying sand eels from Newark, I would guess, to an unknown nest site.

Daisy Aitken and I were driving near Watermoss when we spotted a field awash with Common Gulls and I noticed that many of these were this year's young birds.

There was plenty of evidence of breeding over on Copinsay and the Horse recently when we - along with our neighbours - enjoyed a boat trip around the area with Sidney Foubister. It was good to see Kittiwakes on their nests, Razorbills and Guillemots likewise. In fact, we were thrilled to see a Guillemot chick with its parent, having made a leap of faith from the breeding ledge into the water. It's very loud chirping alerted us to the birds.

Guillemot and Chick by Henry Reitzug

(Photo of Guillemot and Chick by Henry Reitzug).

Also on Copinsay and the Holms Shags, Cormorants, Fulmars and Puffins were plentiful.

Puffins with Fulmars in foreground by Henry Reitzug

(Photo of Puffins with Fulmars in foreground by Henry Reitzug).

It was lovely to see Arctic Terns being very active and flying past with sand eels. I was thrilled to see several juveniles which were obvious by their very short tails so these birds are already on the wing.

Back to the mainland - I counted 300 Curlews as they flew over Jean Corsie's house at The Links; big numbers also for Lapwings which were in a field near Gritley, along with a sprinkling of Curlews.

There are plenty of Pied Wagtails and Meadow Pipits to be seen just now. These will have been busy breeding. I saw a pair of Pied Wagtails at Mary Wylie's house at Lighthouse Corner and there was a juvenile bird at Newark on the 29th.

While at Newark I counted 3 Dunlin on the beach while a familiar sound alerted me to a few Arctic Terns which were diving for food. Two Ringed Plovers were making their warning sounds as I progressed along the beach.

Wheatears will now become more obvious as the breeding season comes to an end. One was perched on the fence of our front field on the 26th.

On a sad note, Daisy Aitken had noticed an Oystercatcher which appeared to have some wool wrapped around its feet but it was impossible to find and catch the bird. A few days later I came across it at the side of the road outside Stuart Wylie's house. The bird had a leg ring so I was able to report this to the BTO who quickly let me know that it had been ringed in Heysham by the Morecambe Bay Ringing Group in 2010. The bird was approximately 9 years old and so had enjoyed a fairly long life.

Pauline Wilson