The previous parts can be found in the following threads http://surfbirds.com/forum/showthread.php?t=6990 (Black-headed Gulls at their nest site) and http://surfbirds.com/forum/showthread.php?t=7022(Fishing dispute at the Oysterbed site).
The first thread introduced the site and the newly hatched Black-headed Gulls and the second thread displayed a aerial combat sequence between two rival Common Tern males.
Since the above submissions, I have returned to the site twice a week and this thread brings the events up-to-date.
I would like to introduce the combatants involved in the second thread. These images show them at rest following the combat. Each marking their half of the shoreline and calling out to each other.
The Common Gull chicks have grown rapidly and are now wandering around the island but keeping their eyes open for their parents to receive food.
Sunday 6th June
At 12 days old the chicks have been encouraged down to the shore-line of the island by the parents. This area will be home for these chicks for the next week or so. It is far safer than the top of the island where there is little or no cover from predators.
The parents also encouraged the chicks to take to the water. This is the first clutch to do so and this has been an increasingly common sight. At least one parent remained on guard with the chicks at this time.
Thursday 10 June
The conditions were not good today with wind and conctant drizzle/rain. This is a dangerous time for the Black-headed Gull chicks as they do not have waterproof feathers and the down will act as a sponge keeping their skins wet.
This was the position on top of the island with chicks standing around getting soaked. They are now too large to be brooded by their parents and have to fend for themselves against the weather conditions.
By way of contrast, the chicks that were brought down to the rocks at the waters edge had found shelter as this image shows.
Here are the other two from the clutch of three chicks I have been following.
Yesterday, the Common Tern and Oystercatcher chicks started to hatch.
Here a female Common Tern is brooding her two new arrivals under her wing. Without this protection the chicks would perish.
The weather broke late in the late afternoon and the sun tried to make an appearance through the thick low cloud.
The male has returned with food for the chicks. The chick on the left is still eating and the chick on the right is begging for its share.
The Oytercatcher parents have also moved their young from the top of the island to the rocks on the shore-line. Unfortunately, it is very difficult to get a good view.
One of the two chicks can be seen below and behind the female Oystercatcher.
Meanwhile the male is busily finding food for the chicks. Heavy work on the saturated mud.
Sunday 13 June
An overcast but dry day. With all the extra mouths to feed, it is a busy time for all the birds. Tempers flare from time to time and unfortunately I witnessed an unwelcome attack - more later.
The Black-headed Gull chicks have grown very rapidly as this image shows.
The first feathers have formed on the wings.
The parents still somehow find their chicks and feed them. A juvenile Gull has also joined the chicks but it is not welcome.........!
and so is chased off.
The Common Tern are constantly fishing in the lagoon and harbour,
Searching for fish
and back to flight
I have more to process from Sunday's visit an I shall add these to my next update.
Hope you enjoy these. Comments and suggestions are always welcome.