Friday, 13 May 2016

Build it, and they will come...

Not a bad view to wake up to....
We’re all settled in now: camp is running smoothly; the anti-predator fences are up and our information boards are out. We just need the wind to drop so that we can get our observation hide up, then our research can properly get underway!

The beach all ready for visitors, both bird and human. 
The Little Terns are also getting used to life on the beach. After a drop in numbers earlier in the week, they have been building again steadily today with 110 around this evening and more coming in all the time. They were probably off visiting other potential nest sites before deciding that Kilcoole was the best after all (obviously!). Although they haven’t yet laid their eggs, their breeding season is well underway. There has been lots of courtship going on; spectacular flight displays and plenty of fish being presented as a gift to females by hopeful males. Yesterday we saw our first pair copulating, and there has been plenty more today. We’re expecting our first eggs next week, and chicks should start to hatch around 20 days after that.

And it's not just Little Terns we have nesting, the beach is home to a number of Ringed Plover and Oystercatcher nests, and the farmland behind has breeding Skylarks, Goldfinch and Reed Bunting to name just a few. 

Oystercatcher nests are amazingly well camouflaged! Photo taken under NPWS license
We've also had some exciting visitors this week. There are over 100 Dunlin hanging out with the Little Terns and plenty of other waders such as Whimbrel and Black-tailed Godwit stopping by. Yesterday evening we had fly-overs from a Glossy Ibis and a female Hen Harrier, and this stunning Bar-headed Goose roosting near the camp. 
A Bar-headed Goose spent the night here yesterday. 
Feel free to visit the colony and see these magnificent birds for yourself! The Wardens will be happy to answer any questions you may have. We are on the beach between Kilcoole and Newcastle. We do however ask that all visitors to the beach keep to the marked path. Little Terns are very sensitive to disturbance so we need to keep the colony fenced off until early August. Please follow the signs and keep your dogs under control to give this rare ad important colony its best chance of another successful breeding season.

Thanks for all your support! See you on the beach!

No comments:

Post a Comment