It’s that time of year again, the tern rafts are going out and the migrant waders are on the move. On Tuesday the volunteers got two rafts out onto Ivy Lake, after wintering on the shore.
They were occupied by common tern within minutes, although black-headed gull also arrived in numbers and by the end of the day were the only species present. This highlights one of the big problems that terns have these days, as their nesting habitats reduce they are competing more and more with gulls and usually lose out to them.
Yesterday’s migrant birds were mainly waders heading to the high Arctic and included a common sandpiper, a bar-tailed godwit,
a very smart turnstone and two dunlin.
The waders that nest with us are all displaying but none seem to have really settled down yet. Little ringed plover are especially in evidence near Tern Hide.
Although it has got cooler the spring insects are still in evidence and some of the earlier season species are beginning to disappear for another year. One such is the rare grey-backed mining bee Andrena vaga, there are only a few females to be found now, but as they feed on willow pollen their food will soon run out.
If you look at a solitary bee nesting bank there are usually lots of, what at first, look like wasps, but these are actually parasitic bees. Many are very specific as to their host species, I came across two species yesterday. I found what I think was Lathbury’s nomad bee, which uses grey-backed and the commoner ashy mining bee as hosts.
I also found lots of painted nomad bee, which visits the nests of the common yellow-legged mining bee.
Work continues on the parking area close to the Education Centre, which means that it will not be available for parking until after the weekend, please take note of any signs to keep safe on your visit whilst we have machinery working on site.