Thursday, 8 May 2008

Getting birds to co-operate

This week has been amazing as far as bird-watching is concerned, but the birds don't always do what we want, when we want it. Take nightingales for example. On Saturday we began our annual Nightingale Festival with a children's event, attended by 30 juniors and 40 adults. It's a good job we had a booking system because many more people tried to book at the last minute. The weather was kind, the people were there, the volunteer leaders were superb, but the nightingales were not all willing to sing. Never mind though, we did hear some of them, and we saw a noctule bat. (Luckily, one of the dads had a bat detector with him, so it was definitely a noctule and not a Daubenton's, so there.)

On Tuesday we had two black terns on Heronry South all day, showing off for the public. There was a widespread arrival of black terns that day with sightings from almost every large lake in East Anglia, and beyond.  Tuesday night was the big event of the week with 210 people out on tours for a Nightingale Serenade. Again, the nightingales were reluctant, but they did give us a show. Ray Matthews' group  took the Meadow Trail and were rewarded with a Cetti's warbler and a grasshopper warbler singing. These birds both performed for Ray's group, but studiously ignored my group which was right behind.

Wednesday brought seven more black terns and a cosmic mega-tick in the form of a wryneck which showed all day near the moorings. There were more terns and a garganey on Diddington Pit.

This is not a nest box!

The award for the two most awkward birds of the week must go to the robins that nested at Wray House Farm in the pig-stye, otherwise known as "the snakepits". It built two nests, but only used one, in the chassis of our Erreppi 4x4 which is being rebuilt by our volunteers. We have painted all the external bits and Davy Jones has rebuilt the engine and put in the electrics, but all further work on the project has halted until the young robins fly.

Brian prepares the bonnet of our 4x4 for painting.

We also have a pair of blue tits nesting in a life-belt station, so please don't fall in the lake for a another month or so.