Sunday, 31 July 2016

Breakwater birds 30/7/16

Rock pipits with newly fledged young, a common sandpiper, and strangely, a single egg in an Oystercatchers "nest"!

You would expect any such egg would have hatched several weeks ago as according to studies made by Keighly and Buxton (THE INCUBATION PERIOD OF THE OYSTER-CATCHER BY J. KEIGHLEY AND E. J. M. BUXTON. British Birds Vol XLI) the incubation period is only about four weeks.
The parent birds have been conspicuously obvious close by. In previous years I have seen them with chicks on a ledge of the inside face of the sea wall presumably having laid their eggs up there and have been keeping an eye out for them this year. But until now, I was unaware of where they had nested.    

I have walked  and driven past this spot scores of times but not seen the nest until a young man who was out with us found it. Generally the parents have caught my eye as they hung on the lip of the breakwater road opposite.I thought there must be a nest.young somewhere about, perhaps in the concrete jumble below. 
The main problem the parents have is that Carrion Crows and  Ravens patrol the breakwater constantly and now their young have fledged are very much on the lookout for easy pickings. Also gulls of several species roost and hang about there.
It seems probable that this is a second attempt, and a normal clutch would be 3 or 4 eggs.  I will try and keep an eye on it from a distance but I fear as in other years, the odds are against a happy ending.