Thursday, 29 July 2010

Pilsey Island 29th July.

As we arrived on Pilsey Island an Osprey drifting over, carrying a
mullet back for lunch, was a good start to today's site visit. The
excellent vegetation included Lax-flowered Sea Lavender, Long-bracted
Sedge, Sea Holly and Sea Heath. Few seabirds had nested here this
year though, with regular disturbance in this busy part of Chichester
Harbour being a likely reason.

We continued round and out into Langstone Harbour, where there was a
different story. This year, the islands supported 400 pairs of Med
Gull, 205 pairs of Sandwich Tern, 81 pairs of Common Terns, and most
significantly, the 61 pairs of Little Tern had reared at least 47
young. 'Recharge' of the islands with gravel (to increase their
height above high tides), combined with some predator control, has
helped produce an excellent season. Disturbance is less of an issue
here. However, the Med Gulls also appear to be part of the problem
for the terns. Whilst the adults rearing chicks seem to forage inland
for invertebrates, the failed and non breeders hang around the
colonies predating eggs and chicks.

As high tide approached, the wader roosts gathered; 500+ Curlews, 200+
Oystercatchers, and small numbers of Whimbrel, Dunlin and Ringed
Plover were noted.

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