Thursday, 17 April 2014

16th April: Fantastic Family Craft Event!

Our Easter Family Craft Day went very well yesterday, the sun was shining and we were kept very very busy! We lost count after a while but we estimate at least 90 craft lobsters, lapwings and little terns were made by children visiting the island.

Assembling lobster door-guards


Meet Hamish the lobster

Flapping Lapwings were most popular, with the lapwing 'team' helping 5 children make their own lapwing simultaneously, but the little terns and lobsters were not far behind!

Bird Bingo and Easter-themed colouring-in also went down a treat. We can't wait to run another craft event! Huge thanks to all our volunteers who helped out yesterday, without their help events like these would not be possible.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

15th April: Special Event Tomorrow

Reserve staff and volunteers are holding a special Easter Family Craft Event tomorrow at the Window on Wild Lindisfarne. Here you can get stuck into making your own flapping lapwings, little terns and lobster door guards. The event is free!

The Window on Wild Lindisfarne

Lobster and lapwing welcoming you to our previous craft event, which was a great success

Visitors enjoying views of the birds on the scrape from inside the building

There will also be activities like Easter wordsearches, Bird Bingo and more!

Everyone is welcome to drop-in anytime between 11.00 and 13.00, please see the Events page for more information about events on the Reserve.

Friday, 11 April 2014

11th April: Little Tern Recovery Project

Every year a special type of sea bird returns to our shores making a journey of thousands of miles. There are several types of terns that make Northumberland their home in the summer taking advantage of the marine larder that is only a few flaps away.

The Little Tern

Our smallest Tern species is the Little Tern which travels each April to breed at fewer than 60 sites nationally. After navigating its way from the depths of Africa to our shores the Little Terns story is not over. It has to find its place amongst the busy beaches, which is becoming increasingly difficult with climate change and coastal development.

An example of a potential Little Tern breeding site, complete with decoys and a lure that plays Little Tern calls

It is because of the threats to their survival that a national partnership project supported by EU LIFE+ programme has been established. What does this mean for Northumberland? With strong established colonies right here on the coast we have been included within the project. Natural England, National Trust, Northumberland AONB partnership and the RSPB have formed a partnership and recruited a project worker to work between established sites and any new satellite sites where ever they may crop up. This includes the Northumberland SPA from Low Newton through to LNNR and potentially further afield. The project is running nationally for 5 years and 3 years in Northumberland.

With the first sightings of our early arriving Sandwich Tern last week, it won’t be long before the breeding season gets fully underway. Everyone can help Little Terns and shore nesting birds on the Northumberland Coast. If you are visiting Holy Island or any of our brilliant beaches over the summer, you can help by keeping dogs on leads and take note of any signs or fenced off areas where shore birds may be breeding.

This is how the shore bird sites will look once the fencing and signs are up

But wait there are more ways to help! We are currently recruiting volunteers to help survey new shore bird sites as well as wardens for established areas. Any help is appreciated whether you can give a large or small amount of your time. If you want more information or have any sightings, please get in touch on 07768310629

I hope to write regular updates for the blog and keep everyone up to date with the project as the season goes on.

Mhairi Maclauchlan
Project Co-ordinator EU LIFE+ - Little Tern Recovery Project Northumberland

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

9th April: Caterpillars come out of hibernation

While busy clearing litter from next to the Causeway on Holy Island, a hairy caterpillar was spotted underneath a piece of plastic - definitely a sign of spring. In summer when walking among the dunes of the Reserve you will spot many of these large hairy caterpillars, be careful not to step on them as they make their way across the paths!

This particular caterpillar is larva of the drinker moth, a large moth which flies from June - August. Their name comes from the caterpillar's behaviour, which supposedly enjoys drinking dew from leaves.

8th April: David's Diary

David, one of our volunteer guides at the Window on Wild Lindisfarne, has another piece for us about his tales from the Window. David has had a busy weekend there, with more visitors to the island and the NNR now that Easter is approaching.

David writes:

Saturday 5th April

There were two shelduck on the scrape having had only one for 4 weeks (approx). It was warm at 15C and hazy sunshine. Main car park 90% full! About 120 visitors per hour for more than 3 hours. 2 shelduck, 5 teal and some gulls plus 3 oyster catchers, 1 curlew and 1 heron later on. 8 wood pigeons, 1 pied wagtail and 3 starlings on the pond under the window. Arrivals spread out nicely (i.e. the people).

Shelduck - probably not the famous individual of the scrape however

One woman was eating an ice cream in the shape of an oyster!!! It did not look appetizing. One couple know my cousin in Thorne near Doncaster. Regular visitor from north east London made herself known - she comes once a month! One guy from Poland, which made explaining shelduck interesting. Husband and wife team from Castle who Laura and I met at Budle Bay expressed an interest in volunteering - don't tell National Trust.

It was so warm I had my Natural England fleece on top. Of course I can't get it off but I'll go back to the WOWL tomorrow so it won't matter if I leave it on.

Sunday 6th April

Different day from yesterday. Very breezy, even warmer 17C, cloudy. Main car park 75% full. Even more water all across the road coming back, perhaps due to north west wind/squall. I forgot to return the Window keys to the Reserve office because I had left the washing on the line and it started to pour down as I reached the level crossing - which was closed!!

Perhaps saw 75 visitors in 2 hours, 2 shelduck being a bit aggressive, 5 black headed gulls, 5 teal, 3 herring gulls, 5 Brent geese then one then none and 1 pied wagtail at the pond under the window.

Visit the Window on Wild Lindisfarne and you may see small groups of dark-bellied Brent geeseon the scrape.

One party of ten 8 year olds had me worried but they were fine, quite few children in total. One elderly couple from Devizes come every year and stay on the Island. Several visitors had (normal) ice creams - must be summer. Nearly 75% of one box of Natural England's NNR leaflets have gone already.

Thursday, 3 April 2014

3rd April: U-Turn Round at Beal Car Park

A new audio interpretation unit is now installed next to our information panels at Beal car park, on the left as you approach the causeway from the mainland.

The new U-Turn Round at Beal

This unit has 8 messages about the amazing habitats and key species of Lindisfarne NNR, including information about management of the Reserve and some important points for visitors. The unit is ecologically designed, powered by people winding the handle to play the messages, and is 100% recyclable.

Reserve Manager playing the newly-installed U-Turn Round for the first time

Please visit the information point, pick up a leaflet, and learn more about the Reserve by listening to poetic descriptions of the plants and animals of Lindisfarne.

1st April: Butterfly surveys begin this week

The 1st April means the start of our weekly butterfly transect survey – it feels like the weather is playing an April Fool’s trick on us however! Wet and misty days are not great for counting butterflies – hopefully the weather will clear up toward the end of the week for our first survey of butterfly numbers among the sand dunes of Lindisfarne NNR. The survey is best carried out on sunny, calm days.

This weekly survey contributes to the UK Butterfly Monitoring Survey (UKBMS), and has been carried out by Reserve staff at Lindisfarne NNR since the mid-1970s. The survey runs from April until September.

Some of the butterflies that can be seen at Lindisfarne National Nature Reserve over the summer:

Dark green fritillary



Small tortoiseshell

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

26th March: New National Nature Reserves Facebook page

Natural England's National Nature Reserves are now on Facebook! Go to the following link to read news stories and updates, view great pictures and post your own stories and photos from your visits:

A snapshot of the Facebook page

Log in and give us a 'Like'!