Friday, 29 December 2017

Egrets and Herons

Keen observers will have no doubt noticed the arrival in recent years of a small white heron, the Little Egret, on the Northumberland Coast. Now regarded as an established breeding bird much on the increase, it will require considerable research in order to establish any impacts of this new predator of fish and invertebrates on wetland and coastal areas. It is clear that the grey Heron has a slightly different hunting strategy, quiet stealth, an angled motionless poise then an explosive stab at the fish below.

Grey Heron

The Little Egret is a much more energetic hunter, chasing prey around in rock pools, raising wings to flush prey, or vigorously wiggling bright yellow feet to uncover the contents of the mud.
Little Egret

Though frequently mobbed by gulls and crows, other small waders and ducks are less troubled by feeding proximity to the Little Egret, however, they stay clear from the Grey Heron.
Little Egret & Black-Headed Gull
Blog Entry by a Lindisfarne NNR Volunteer.

There are several bird hides across the reserve including one fresh water hide at the Lough on Holy Island. Other hides look out onto coastal habitats at Fenham-le-Moor and Elwick. A new viewing platform has also been a commissioned for Budle Bay, this will be installed in 2018. For optimal bird watching experiences, wear natural coloured clothing rather than bright, vibrant outerwear, keep noise disturbance to a minimum, watch on a rising tide as this draws the birds closer to the observer….and enjoy!

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

November 2017-Panoramic Veiw of Budle Bay Flats

Panoramic Views from the White Railings

The white railings by the road north after Bamburgh provide panoramic views of Budle Bay mudflats.

Image 1: Budle Bay ©JJD

A wide array of bird life can be seen at all stages of the tide as it ebbs and flows from this vantage point. Binoculars or better still a telescope will enable good views of birds that make use of this precious ecological resource.

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Image 2: Enthusiasts watching birds on the mudflats of Budle Bay during one of the organised ‘Migratory Bird Watch’ events ©Natural England/Annie Ivison

The best time to see birds here is throughout the autumn and winter months, when resident birds are joined by migrant geese, swans, ducks and waders, sometimes in huge numbers.

Image 3: A Mute swan on the waters of the reserve ©JJD
Image 4: A Curlew wading the mud ©JJD
Image 5: Light-bellied Brent geese from the Svalbard population feeding on seagrasses that are abundant across the mudflats at Fenham and Budle Bay ©JJD                    

Being adjacent to the North Sea coast, hard weather on continental Europe can result in even greater numbers of avian visitors

Birds to look out for are Shovellers and Pintail, among flocks of Wigeon, Teal and Mallard.
At high tide, Glavonian and Red-throated Diver are frequently spotted, fishing the deeper river channels.

Blog written by an NNR volunteer

Birds at Budle Bay should be observed from behind the railings, ideally on a rising tide, which will draw the birds closer to the observer.

Plans are underway to build a new viewing platform at Budle Bay, this will provide an excellent space for viewing birds without disturbing this space!

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

longterm monitoring network at the Lindisfarne NNR II

The long term monitoring network at the Lindisfarne NNR continues.

Liz shows the group how to identify grasses as part of the LTMN training.

The group gets stuck in identifying common grasses such as Marram grass, Crested-Dog's tail and Quaking grass.

what is this one?

Monday, 17 July 2017

longterm monitoring network at the Lindisfarne NNR

Day one at lindisfarne.17th June 2017

Everyone is meeting at the NNR office before going out for a bit of training and then starting the survey in earnest.

Thursday, 13 July 2017

Graftas Awards 2017: the Lindisfarne NNR volunteer team won

Every year Natural England has the Graftas Awards to recognise individuals or teams who deserve recognition. There were 177 nominations this time.
The event was held at the London Wetland Centre in Barnes

This year, in the team volunteer category, the Lindisfarne NNR volunteer team won!


Congratulations, everyone.

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Long Term Monitoring Vegetation Surveys at Lindisfarne NNR

Every five years a team of Natural England Staff and NNR volunteers descend on the Lindisfarne NNR to survey the fascinating and special vegetation in the dunes as part of the larger Long Term Monitoring Vegetation Surveys carried out throughout the country.

In preparation for this survey, staff at the NNR have been locating the old previous markers and replacing missing markers for the 50 quadrats that need to be surveyed.

Hunting in the dunes slacks for a marker is a lot of work. They are hard to find. If you find one, please leave it in place.

Be careful; don’t step on the wildlife. A frog sits quite happily on the vegetation (Meadow Sweet Filipendula ulmaria , Marsh Pennywort Hydrocotyle vulgaris, Silverweed Potentilla anserina and Creeping Willow Salix repens).

A Twayblade (also spelt Twaeblade) orchid (Neottia ovata).

A lot of Burnet Moths Zygaena filipendulae feeding on a thistle.

Friday, 7 April 2017

Floating Rafts

This week we installed a new design of floating raft to the lough. The new floating islands are 2.5m x 2.5 m and made of recycled plastic. We've added gravel on top and the Perspex sides allow us to view any activity going on while keeping otters and other predators away. Even while we were putting them out there was cheeky otter seen in the reeds. The hope is that gulls and terns may nest on the raft.
New lough raft from the hide (c) MM

Close up of the raft ready for the birds!

Thursday, 6 April 2017

Turning to spring - first Sandwich terns 30th of March

First Sandwich terns seen at Lindisfarne National Nature Reserve on the 30th of March. These are the first terns to be seen in the spring returning from their migration. They often like to feed and roost around Goswick. If you see large flocks on the sand please give them space as they've made an amazing migration and need to feed and rest before breeding.
Sandwich tern in flight (c) JJD