Sing like a Serin?

15 May 2015:

Suffolk Wildlife Trust Coastal Beach Champions eventLandguard hosted the Suffolk Wildlife Trust Coastal Beach Champions event on the 21 April. This ongoing initiative was grant funded by the Touching the Tide project. Children from five local Primary Schools were there to be introduced to four different coastal issues. Sustainable fishing was covered by IFCA (Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority), Pollution by CEFAS (Centre for Environment Fisheries and Aquaculture Science), Climate change by Dr Leanne Hepburn (University of Essex) and Multi use issues were covered by me. The sun shone but there was still a chilly bite to the wind and I noticed one or two children without coats! After an introductory talk by Beverly Rogers (Suffolk Wildlife Trust) and Bill Jenman (Touching the Tide Manager) the day got underway and by two o’clock knowledge drenched children were ready for a round up to tie it all together with Suffolk Wildlife SerinTrust's Judy Powell.

April 26 saw a good influx of migrating birds on the Reserve and thirty three ringed at the Bird Observatory. Amongst a flock of mainly Linnets three Serin were identified and as you can see on the Bird Observatory blog: this represents the largest group of this species yet recorded at Landguard. Its name Serin in French means Canary and it has a world wide distribution of Europe and North Africa.  There are around sixty six sightings a year in the UK with a few breeding but most are passage migrants.

SunsetWith the Landguard Bungalow sitting room window looking out across the estuary towards Harwich it is hard to miss the sun setting if it isn’t obscured by clouds. It’s also hard to miss its daily advance from its Southern mid-Winter Solstice location as it bobs along the Harwich skyline to its Northern mid-Summer Solstice setting point. As I remarked to my wife that "the weather will start getting warmer now as the suns setting point has reached St. Nicks church spire", I felt like one of the ancients marking my year by following the sun. I have amassed quite a collection of photographs of sunsets and realise with some consternation that I have become the complete Ringed Plover (image credit: Dave Hawkins)sunset boar!

By the 6 May three pairs of Ringed Plovers have begun nesting on the beach. The first pair was seen to begin incubating 13 April so at the time of writing (7 May) could be due any time. Nigel Odin from the Bird Observatory noted that one of the pairs has nested almost exactly in the same place as last year and might be the same pair. He has studied the breeding Ringed Plovers at Landguard closely for longer than he may care to admit and his imparting of his knowledge has enabled me to become familiar with their habits more quickly than otherwise.

Plastic BottleThere is warm weather due next week which will spur the growth of beach vegetation on and in turn provide conditions for invertebrate life, hopefully to be gobbled up by hungry Ringed Plovers and their chicks! Let’s just hope that the top of the food chain Kestrel that I have seen recently plucking Common lizards form the Northern half of the Reserve doesn’t develop a liking for Ringed Plover chicks as has happened in the past. The top half of plastic bottles have been attached to the top of some enclosure posts to prevent Gulls and Corvids perching and then scanning the shingle for tasty treats!

I awoke the other morning to find that the Conservative party had been voted back in. I broke the news to my bleary eyed wife "Oh the Conservatory party is in again!" she exclaims. A sudden image of David Cameron holding his cabinet meetings in someone’s sunlit conservatory forms in my mind as I step from the hall way door into the chill of the office.

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