Saturday, 14 June 2014

Black-winged Stilts (14 June 2014)

Saturday 14 June.  News that stilt eggs had started to hatch had John King and I returning to Medmerry.  I wanted to do a Corn Bunting survey first so arranged a 09:00 start only for early heavy rain up to put paid to that.  Having left my phone and pager at work (again) it wasn't easy to change arrangements and I visited the Adur first seeing a nice plumaged Redshank and 4 Reed Warblers.  At Medmerry the Black-winged stilts had two chicks with the remaining egg appearing to have a pale dent in it which we hoped was the other beginning to hatch.  After a couple of hours we walked down to the breech and when we returned one soaking later the third chick had hatched.  A brilliant occurrence and top marks to the RSPB and their volunteers, not least Mick Davis.  Safe now from egg thieves (human and avian) the chicks are at their most vulnerable.  Rather worryingly on our previous visit (25 May) we had seen 5 Avocet chicks, the survivors of three broods.  Only one had survived, the rest we were told had been taken by crows.  A fate that had befallen all but one Little Ringed Plover chick.  The parent stilts were well aware of the threat from gulls and crows, chasing them off.  A Little Egret was dive bombed too, but three chicks will take a lot of looking after if they wander off as far as the oldest did today.

Black-winged Stilt and oldest chick at Medmerry
stilt and 3 chicks, the youngest sitting to left and facing camera




We also saw 15 Avocets, 8 Little Ringed Plovers, 65+ Grey Plover, a Knot, a summer-plumaged Curlew Sandpiper, 2 Bar-tailed Godwits, 7 Turnstone, Mediterranean Gull and 2 Little Terns and what looked like a female White Wagtail feeding a youngster.

Avocet at Medmerry
Redshank on the Adur
Friday 13 June.  Cycling to work I thought I heard a distant Black Redstart near the power station but it might have been my hearing aid playing up.  If so it is the first this year.

Thursday 12 June.  8 Little Egrets on the Adur in the evening, the most I've seen there for some time, and Mandarin and Cuckoo at Greatham.  I had 9 encounters of Woodcock on a survey on Lavington Common but probably only two birds were involved.  Three Nightjars performed well and I had brief views of Little and Tawny Owls on the way home, a very enjoyable evening apart from the biting insects.

Little Egret on the Adur
Monday 9-Friday 13 June.  Up to 13 Swifts over our road each evening.  A Ringed Plover on Southwick Beach on Monday & Tuesday before rock moving vehicles churned it up again.  I didn't see the nest but it was destroyed.  It is a hard enough place to breed at the best of times.

The West Pier before demolition starts

2 comments:

  1. Hi Richard,

    We're interested in using some of your photos of the Medmerry BWSs for TV - would you be able to email me at nick.gates@iconfilms.co.uk and I'll explain further?

    Kind regards,

    Nick

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi Richard,

    We're interested in using some of your photos of the Medmerry BWSs for TV - would you be able to email me at nick.gates@iconfilms.co.uk and I'll explain further?

    Kind regards,

    Nick

    ReplyDelete