Tuesday, 21 March 2017

WoWL wonderings

Richard was back in the Window on Wild Lindisfarne speaking to visitors yesterday -  below he gives an account of his afternoon.

Black Headed Gull (c) JJD
"Another sunny afternoon on Holy Island but with the edge taken off by a stiff wind. The birds were hunkering down as a result of the wind and so very little was on show from the Window. Nine black tailed godwits - the same ones as two weeks ago? -  were dozing in the marshy area and a small group of teal were in the same area.

Only gulls - black headed and herring - were on the flash.

A small flock of brent geese flew around in the distance but settled out of view

Despite the lack of birds there were many visitors into the Window with people from Texas, Germany, the Shetlands and Northern England. Many questions were answered on the theme of , "what bird was it that we saw........?" Close questioning of the birders elicited a nil response to the question, "Have you seen any wheatear?"

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Peak Counts from February

Slavonian Grebe - 7
Little Egret - 3
Whooper Swan - 19
Barnacle Goose - 1070
Dark-bellied brent - 86
Light-bellied brent - 900
Shelduck - 1447
Wigeon - 962
Female and Male Wigeon
Teal - 115
Eider - 281
Pintail - 170
Red-breasted merganser - 8
Oystercatcher - 391
Golden Plover - 3551
Grey Plover - 192
Lapwing - 2680
Knot - 1443
Bar-tailed godwit - 407
Curlew - 781
Redshank - 376
Turnstone - 61
Spotted Redshank - 2

Red-breasted merganser



Thursday, 9 March 2017

Visitor ambassadors

We have a small group of volunteers who are our visitor ambassadors. They help with events and speaking to visitors at the Window on Wild Lindisfarne. We've had Jill and David as well as Richard giving up the odd day to be stationed there giving directions, advice and chatting about the Reserve. If you are visiting why not pop in there's plenty of information and if our volunteers are in then a scope and binoculars for you to use! (Pictures (c) JJD)

Here's Richard's account of his time:

A quiet morning as we expect given the tide times and Feb. - though a nice sunny day. There were sheep grazing in the field right up to the window pond - quite useful as they lifted 2 snipe.

Birds as well as the snipe were:
13 black tailed godwit
3 redshank
2 grey heron
30 ish teal
5 curlew

(If you would like to volunteer as an ambassador then please get in touch 01289 381470)

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Back to college ....

On Monday staff and volunteers boarded the pick up and made the short journey down to Kirkley Hall to learn about grazing and conservation. This was part of our Grazing Project part funded by HLF Peregrini Partnership. 

The idea behind the course was to give volunteers more information about grazing on the Reserve, grazing for conservation and also linking that to agriculture. Volunteers are essential on the Reserve and are often tasked with lookering stock on occasion.

The morning was spent in the classroom looking at the rational and theory behind using stock when managing nature Reserves. Rob from Kirkley Hall ran this session. We were then handed over to Andrew, a lecturer at the college for the more practical part of the course. Donning our wellies and waterproofs we headed to the lambing sheds to look at sheep husbandry. You can see volunteer Gill getting stuck in to turning a sheep and checking it's teeth under Andrew's experienced eye.

Cattle were next  and Andrew had some lovely Aberdeen angus to show us how to use a crush and check condition. This was followed by leading them out using halters and getting them used to being handled. We left by looking through the sheds and having a look at one of the college's bulls. We get local graziers animals on our sites and it was great to be able to link this with the workings of farms.

A few photos from the day are below.

Andrew explaining about the set up at Kirley Hall and what to look out for when lookering sheep

Jill gets stuck in turning and checking a sheep.
Volunteer Steve haltered and led cattle out of the crush. Andrew explained this method is used so that cattle get used to being handled and are quieter if they need to be worked.

Emma King from Teesmouth NNR checks the cattle for condition.

Thursday, 2 March 2017

Willow Sculpture Trail

We have been working with local artist Anna Turnbull who has been contracted through Peregrinni Landscape Partnership. With the help of volunteers Anna is putting together willow sculptures which will be put out around our self guided nature trail. She sent over some pictures of the progress. In Anna's email she says

"We have two female Eiders and four ducklings completed to date. Four more ducklings are to be made over the next sessions to complete the crèche.

A Lapwing and Short Eared Owl will be completed at the conference on Saturday. "

It's all very exciting and if you would like to be involved please get in touch or have a look at

Making the metal frames for the Willow sculptures.

Friday, 24 February 2017

A nicer day...for now!

It's been a lovely day today compared with the wrath of Doris yesterday and there is a noticeable change in the air (for now!). Some of the smaller birds around the Reserve are starting find a voice over the calm of the day. On the North Shore I heard Reed Bunting calling with their suurrrpp call and flying between taller stems of marram. The males were looking particularly good.

At Beal car park the quiet has been broken with the comings and goings of chattering starlings in the trees to the North. There has been large groups around and we have been seeing small to medium murmurations over the Island.

Keep an eye out for skylark and meadow pipits in the dunes around the island - they have been calling and displaying.

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