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A few firsts

23 September 2013


We’re used to seeing swallows passing through and sometimes even attempt breeding but for the first time (to our knowledge!) a pair of swallows successfully reared chicks.  The birds chose a relatively quiet, dark and undisturbed building to construct their nest.  It was tucked out of the way and soon contained four eggs.  Swallow-Adult incubating eggs

Four of these hatched:Swallows-Eggs hatchedSwallow - young chicks


…and all chicks successfully fledged….Swallow - older chicks, close up


QinetiQ staff cable tied the door of the building open to make sure the adult birds could move in and out freely – thanks guys!



For the last three years I have surveyed Hirta for Oystercatchers.  Unusually this year, two pairs of birds held a territory in Village Bay, something I haven’t seen before.    Great skuas give this Oystercatchers a hard time and I wasn’t hopeful that the birds would nest successfully  – but they did! and what a great place to nest! Oystercatcher-Nest site with a good view (Photo: Gina Prior)


The Oystercatchers are great parents. While one bird is sitting tight incubating eggs, the other acts as a sentinel and keeps watch on the surrounding area.  The birds made a hell of a racket when disturbed, circle overhead, chase off other birds and for the first time ever I had one dive bomb me reminiscent of a bonxie attack!  OystercatcherAlarmingOystercatcher-Keeping watch


I couldn’t get close enough to the chicks to get any decent images as the parents would alert the young causing them to take cover and hide.  But, here’s a picture of two chicks, taken from at least 100m away.Oystercatcher-Two chicks feeding



Leach’s petrel chicks

I’ll write more about this in another post, but for now…..  two Leach’s storm-petrels are using the nest boxes that were installed last year!PetrelBox - Adult incubating, close up



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Sowerby's beaked whale