Saturday, 14 May 2011

Linacre - 14th May 2011 - Dawn Chorus Walk, WeBS Walk, a Year Tick and Nestbox checking!!

Wow, what a busy morning!! The day started at 5.30am when I arrived at Linacre to take part in the annual Dawn Chorus Walk, together with Gillian, the DCC Ranger. Many thanks to the 15+ people who turned up. I'm always really pleased to see that people care enough about our natural world to give up a few hours sleep and enjoy what it has to offer.

Unfortunately, today's weather wasn't the best for listening to the birds as it was pretty windy! Despite this we did manage to hear Wren, Blackcap, Chaffinch, Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Blackbird, Mistle Thrush, Goldcrest, Jay and Robin. As well as this we also saw Mallard with 2 broods of ducklings, 3 Great-crested Grebes, 1 Pied Wagtail (the first record for this year and our first summer record!), Great Spotted Woodpecker, Sparrowhawk, the hybrid goose, Moorhen, Coot (first nest of the year) and the Little Grebe, that was still sitting on its nest.

Pied Wagtail

Following on from the Dawn Chorus Walk I was joined by several members of the Chesterfield RSPB Group and we set off to do the WeBS walk and check the group's nestboxes. Unfortunately, due to the low water levels in the reservoirs, we didn't count large numbers of birds. The highest count was Mallard (29), with 3 broods of 6, 6 and 7 and approximately 10 adults being recorded. Moorhen and Coot were around in small numbers, and we managed to find our first Coot nest of the year on the middle reservoir. 6 Tufted Ducks were also present, as were 1 Grey Heron, the hybrid goose and the Little Grebe.

The nest boxes were a lot more successful, but tinged with some sadness. We found 34 active nests and 1 brood of 7 Great Tits that had already fledged! No news on the "owl box" because the ladders we took today were too short to reach !! Unfortunately the Pied Flycatcher nest that was found last week still only had 3 eggs in it and they were cold. Added to this, the female bird was nowhere to be seen and the male bird was singing in a different part of the woods and so we can assume that this nest has now failed. We will never know what happened to the female bird, but she was never seen on the nest and is now presumably dead, through natural causes or killed by a predator. Hopefully the male bird will manage to find a new mate and start a new family this year- fingers crossed!!

To end on a happy note, here's a picture of some of today's Great Tit chicks that are also very close to fledging.

Great Tit chicks

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