Tuesday, 21 June 2022

Rock Pipit puzzle perplexes

SW to west light winds, plenty of long sunny spells.

Middleton Nature Reserve 
Janet had a look at dawn. It was misty over the ponds.
Too early for the Swans

But these Mallard were active

Meanwhile, this large male Fox was on the prowl

Hummingbird Hawkmoth 1 - located early afternoon by Janet at the corner of Moneyclose Lane. Unfortunately at that point Janet didn't have her camera with her - shame, but still a nice record.

Pete managed to complete the gull nest survey this year, the first one practical since 2019. Numbers have increased, largely it seems down to the higher numbers on the new custom's building roof, which replaced the old Fishers roof.

The counts are definite breeding birds - so the figures are numbers of confirmed breeding pairs 

2019 gull nesting survey

2022 gull nesting survey

South shore (MD)
I really just went down to sort out what's happening with the Rock Pipits near lighthouse. And the answer is......I don't really know!
Two Rock Pipits are definitely taking food to chicks in a nest hole near the lighthouse. They won't go to the nest if anyone is close, and there were a few visitors around watching the ferry arrive. So two birds were waiting above the site with food for the chicks.

But neither of these birds is the ringed male. So, either this is a different pair, or the female has a new partner, or a third bird is helping the female, perhaps one of last year's chicks.
I didn't see the male today, but he was around on Sunday. I can't imagine him tolerating another male on his territory, he's been chasing off all and sundry since his return to territory. So my guess is that another female is helping the original female (MD)
The current nest is in a different hole, not too far from the earlier one, and easier to locate with fading vegetation in the mouth.
Current nest site, just below the metal bollard 

After the visitors left the lighthouse area, I was positioned further down the wall I saw them take food to the nest several times. Some of those visits may have been by the ringed male, but I didn't see him for certain. That's what it will need to confirm that this is the original pair's second brood.

The food they were taking to the nest was again quite small portions. But this bird is collecting Sea Slaters like someone taking food from a supermarket shelf! (Perhaps a consequence of this morning's mist wetting the wall, then the hot sun quickly baking it dry?) It eats the first one, but seems to decide it can squeeze the second one through a chick's gape, although it didn't take it directly to the nest.

Another two Rock Pipits on Red Nab
Mediterranean gull - just one 2nd calendar year seen, but the tide was a way out

Ringlet butterfly 3 along the Nature Park

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