Monday, 13 June 2011

Surviving the Downpour

I had not been at the reserve since Thursday and was concerned that yesterday's continuous rain would have caused serious problems for some of the wader and tern chicks. Fortunately it seems I need not have worried as they all, or at least most of them, seem to have come through alright. From the Tern hide there are still at least two little ringed plover chicks, the large lapwing and at least two oystercatcher chicks. What is more a further lapwing has hatched at least two chicks since last week.

Down at Ivy South hide, I was less worried about the common tern chicks as most of them are a good size now and they have plenty of shelters. When I opened up the hide it was noticeable that there were very few adults with the chicks though, at one point I could see over thirty chicks but only three adults in attendance. I suspect this was because the others were all away catching fish to make up for the lack of food they were able to bring in yesterday. Wind and rain not only chills the chicks making their need for food greater, it also makes it much harder for the adults to catch fish. The adult needs to see the fish below the surface, which must be difficult if the water is rippled by wind and splashed by rain, then it needs to dive accurately, a problem in a gusty wind. It is easy to see why in very wet windy summers producivity is reduced significantly.

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