Wednesday, May 25, 2011

We've been busy over the past couple of days doing a whole island Oystercatcher census. While walking the entire coastline to map territories and record clutch size, I (Giselle) took the opportunity to photograph a few nests. The amount of scrape lining varies markedly from nest to nest, but what's even more fascinating is the material used to line.

Short pieces of dead gorse twig were used in nests on the South End, where gorse is the predominant vegetation (top middle, bottom right). On the more rocky outcrops, nests were lined with small fragments of rock and shale (top right) and in areas where the sheep have been, a couple of pairs decided to waste not want not and lined their nests with sheep dottle (bottom middle). (c) Giselle Eagle

Some nests have very little lining at all, such as the four-clutcher (top left). A lot of pairs seem to locate their nest scrapes next to a prominent feature such as large boulders, but on a shingle beach, nest location may prove difficult, so one pair has cleverly built their scrape next to a large thrift plant (top middle). And finally, a conservation-irony in the bottom left - one pair that nests on the South of the island always chooses to line their scrape with snapped off pieces of Sharp Rush, a nationally scarce plant species and one of the features of the National Nature Reserve. (c) Giselle Eagle

The strong winds are still with us and landbirds are a little thin on the ground. Spotted Flycatchers remain the most abundant passerine migrant. (c) Richard Brown

1 comment:

  1. Rich & Giselle
    Just discovered your blog.Really enjoyed the short interesting bits of information.It just shows the richness and beauty of Enlli.
    The blog on the Oystercatcher nests really is interesting stuff-something that is often overlooked and taken for granted.Keep it up.
    Best wishes-roll on september !