One of my favourite activities of the year happened today, although it was not actually on one of our reserves. Today was the day for the nest count of the RSPB islands. I like to try and help with this each year, although I don’t always make it, not only is the spectacle of all the gulls amazing but the alternative view of the Harbour is refreshing. Normally I look from Farlington Marshes towards the islands, today I got to look the other way.
Although it is very enjoyable there is a serious task to do and one that needs to be done, speedily, accurately and efficiently. We want to get a good count of all the nesting birds, but also to stay on the island for as short a time as possible to minimise disturbance. The count can only take place if the weather conditions are good, the tide suitable and the nesting season at the correct point. All this meant that today was perhaps the only suitable day this year, luckily it was not too cold, not too windy and there were enough people on hand to help.
As well as the nesting gulls we also saw a few other birds, a flock of about 40 bar-tailed godwit with a few knot and 3 turnstone including one in beautiful summer plumage. As we left the slipway a common seal was in the creek and a fox walking along the strandline by Budds Farm.
I then went to Farlington to check on the cattle, luckily today there were cooperative and easy to count, so I had time to have lunch whilst looking at the Stream. I saw not bird of real note by did see a large dragonfly, I am pretty sure it was an emperor. It flew about low over the reeds and at one point I thought it was going to land on the bramble by the path. I followed it with my binoculars as it flew round in the hope of seeing where it landed and getting a picture. However what actually happened was much more unexpected, it started to fly up almost vertically, heading into the wind, I continued to watch it as it went up almost directly above me until it got too small for me to pick it out any more, which must have been at several hundred feet, evidently it was heading off to pastures new.