Tuesday, 7 February 2017

A view of Budle Bay

A selection of photos from Budle Bay and Stag Rocks taken by JJD. Drake Eiders are now starting to show in breeding plumage - amazing colours!

Drake Eider

Female Eider


Thursday, 2 February 2017

Selected Peak Bird Counts – January 2017

Our counts are in for January! Good Numbers of pink footed-geese on the Reserve and in the surrounding area. Other birds of note include short-eared owls that have been seen roosting and hunting on the dunes. They can easily be spooked if you are walking in the Dunes and its important visitors keep to paths and dogs are kept on leads. (I'm sure know the drill by now!) European whitefronted geese have been seen during the beginning and middle of the month. If you have any interesting sightings please let us know.

Light-bellied brent: 1272

Pink-footed: 4000
Greylag: 270
Barnacle: 1050
European whitefront: 6
Whooper: 42
Shelduck: 3102
Wigeon; 1296
Teal: 700
Mallard: 433
Eider: 357
Goldeneye: 11
Common Scoter: 515
Long-tailed duck: 32 
Lapwing: 2500
Red-breasted merganser: 38
Oystercatcher: 605
Ringed plover: 116
Golden plover: 2012
Grey plover: 848
Dunlin: 3649
Black-tailed godwit: 14
Bar-tailed godwit: 2175
Curlew: 1073
Redshank: 1533
SE owl: 7

Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Final look at the grazing season and farewell to Alex

Today we were out with volunteers and staff to finish of raking and collecting vegetation from the dunes. After some heavy raking we then took the volunteers out to have a look at the grazed areas and show them what had been happening over the last few months.

It was pretty blustery and a bit rainy so we had a whistle stop tour of the site looking at the areas the sheep had grazed and the impact they have had. Our volunteers have been helping with the cutting and raking of vegetation throughout the Reserve which makes up the other part of our vegetation management.
Raking vegetation
It was Alex's last day today and we wish her ever success in the future...we never know we might persuade her to do another season!

The volunteers ready for raking!

A few words from Alex talking about her time on the Reserve

After spending the past four and a half months on the Lindisfarne NNR my time as a Seasonal Warden has come to an end.  I spent most of my time out on Holy Island checking on the sheep and cattle, and surveying non-native invasive plant species on the dune system.  My largest survey by far was mapping the extent of Pirri-pirri bur on the NNR area of Holy Island.  Despite being slightly sick of the sight of those bright green leaves, I did get to spend a lot of time on the island and was able to see all the wintering waders and Light-Bellied Brent Geese, even the occasional flock of Fulmars at Coves Haven.  Even with escaping cattle and stormy weather I’ve enjoyed spending another season here at Lindisfarne learning more about the Northumberland Coast.
Below are some of Alex's photos from her time here.

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

So long, Sheep

This morning the sheep enjoyed their last sunrise over the Snook, after four months on the dunes they’ve gone back home to the mainland.  They have been intensively grazing the Snook on Holy Island as part of our management of the dune grasslands.  This winter with support from the Heritage Lottery Fund Peregrini Lindisfarne Landscape Partnership project we’ve had 30 sheep which have grazed areas of the dunes that have never had livestock on them.  Along with grazing of sedges and grasses they have tackled invasive plants and even scrub. Coupled with other means of dune management the benefits of this extended grazing will be seen in the spring and summer months when wildflowers such as orchids and Grass of Parnassus will emerge and blossom.
Before the sheep did their thing and the after results!

Tackling Scrub


Off they go back to the farm.


Monday, 23 January 2017

Selected Peak Bird Counts – December 2016

Pink-footed goose – 1200
Barnacle goose – 900
White-fronted goose – 16
Scaup – 6
Light-bellied brent – 1094
Shelduck – 1700
Wigeon – 1753
Teal – 687
Mallard – 505
Pintail – 318
Eider – 350 
Common scoter - 675
Goldeneye – 11
Red-breasted merganser – 15
Long-tailed duck – 11
Oystercatcher – 705
Golden Plover – 1200
Knot – 1090
Dunlin- 1270
Bar-tailed godwit – 1000
Curlew – 707





Thursday, 19 January 2017

Messing up

This pile off dog waste and rubbish was collected from a heap at Kiln Point in Budle Bay. What started with a discarded plastic drum seemed to attract 10 kgs of dog waste which had to be collected and transported. We don't have any dog or rubbish bins on site and wanted to ask visitors to take their rubbish away with them including dog waste. I'm sure you will agree it's not nice to look at or to collect.

Discarded Dog Waste - Really??

Monday, 16 January 2017

Avian Nictitating Membrane

Birds have the means to clean and protect their eyes through the use of a nictitating membrane. This thin layer of skin slides in the horizontal plane, where the main eyelid closes in a vertical plane. The species that dive for food use this membrane under the surface, protecting the eye. Raptors that hunt prey at speed, such as the peregrine, may close the membrane at point of impact, or during the final stoop, again for protection. Photographs of these birds frequently show the membrane, giving them the appearance of being blinded. It is through that the bird can still see well during the time the membrane is closed.

Even in sheltered bays on LNNR, Northerly gales produce big waves, salt-spray, and sleet. These resting wigeon use their nictitating eye membrane to give them some relief. They also use the membrane to see under the surface of the water. (c) JJD

Hunting for aquatic larvae entirely submerged underwater, the dipper can see clearly through the membrane, which is a striking white colour (Not taken on the Reserve). (c) JJD

The picture (not taken on the Reserve) shows the nictitating membrane partially retracted. The bird excavates and drums with such force that it needs the protection of the membrane to shield it from flying splinters. (c) JJD

(All Text and Photos John Dunn)