Today Steve and I were invited out into Langstone Harbour to count nests on one of the RSPB’s islands. Upon landing at one end of the island we had to watch our feet at every step as the ground was literally littered with nests. These were mainly that of the Black-headed gulls, although there were also Mediterranean gull nests within the colony which looked incredibly similar. More tricky nests to spot were the Oystercatchers, Little ringed plovers, and Terns which don’t really make a nest as such, they just make a small bowl shape in the shingle and lay their eggs within it. This makes them very camouflaged and very easy to step on!
It was a real treat to be amongst the birds walking around the hundreds of nests. The smell of that many seabirds in one place is very distinctive. Some Black-headed gulls weren’t too pleased of our presence; dive bombing us as we walked across the island, which added to the experience.
For the count we were split up into two teams. One counted on the shingle ridge, while our team concentrated on the salt marsh behind. Our team alone counted over 1,000 nests so it will be interesting to know the total count. It will also be interesting to know how many Little terns nest as Wes (RSPB Warden) counted over 50 birds near the island at the start of the week. Fingers crossed they have a productive year.