Sunday, 11 May 2014

11th of May: Bullfighting on Blakeney Point

This week on the Point, the rangers were more like matadors, the bull in question was not of the bovine variety, but a large Grey Seal bull, with lots of netting around its neck. First seen on the 6th, when it was only feet from the water, offering no chance of a rescue attempt. Then on the 7th we noticed him hauled out 20 feet from the sea. A rescue attempt was now possible.

Using a seal stretcher we were able to block his path to the sea, however it soon became apparent just how big this bull was, aged between 9 and 12 years and weighing in at 300+kg, this was going to be some fight. After several failed attempts, to subdue him, it was decided more hands and another seal stretcher were needed. Two hours later and the RSPCA arrived to lend a hand. With both rangers using a stretcher like a pair of giant chopsticks, we were able to pin it down, for short periods just long enough to cut through a couple of strands of netting at a time using a thin saw blade. After another hour, we finally managed to free him. The wound was about 15cm deep, but given time and plenty of salt water baths, he should make a full recovery. 
The EDP covered the story in today's paper.

The first wader nests of the season have at last been found. On the 8th we found a Redshank's nest with a full clutch of four eggs near the Lifeboat House. While out on the beach near the gap, we discovered the first Oystercatcher egg of the year on the 10th. This is particularly late for Oysterctachers, although the weather has not exactly been encouraging over the last few days.
Redshank's nest

The weather this week has been horrible to say the least, with several heavy downpours and a hailstorm on the 9th. Unsurprisingly numbers of butterflies and moths seen were low, however on the 7th Richard Porter did see the first Common Blue butterfly of the season.
A hailstorm rendered the Point white in a matter of seconds

Migrants seen during the last week include Osprey, Peregrine, Hobby and Goosander on the 8th, while on the 10th a steady trickle of Swifts and Hirundines were flying through all day. They were joined by a few Yellow Wagtails and three Goldfinches. Today we have seen another Hobby as well as two Whinchats, two Sedge Warblers and a handful of Willow Warblers.
Meadow Pipit chicks snug in the nest

As promised, the answer to last week's "guess the legs" quiz...
(photograph by Joe Cockram, 2012)

Paul Nichols,

Seasonal Ranger

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