Waders return, double dose of Fox and signs of spring

Posted February 13, 2015 by Senga Grave

The bubbling song of the Curlew returned to Watchtree this week. This coincided with a flurry of bird activity including singing Skylark, 25+ Lapwing (with Golden Plover nearby), large numbers of Snipe and a lovely Oystercatcher. Apart from the Lapwing (we used to have breeding Lapwing) and the Snipe we would hope to see both Curlew and Oystercatcher breeding at Watchtree in 2015. The challenge for both birds is protecting the nest site (eggs) and then the vulnerable chicks. We have video evidence of a Fox eating the Oystercatcher eggs a few years ago and, whilst not conclusive evidence – its almost certain that a Fox predated the first Curlew nest from 2014. Fortunately, the pair moved to an area of nearby rank grassland and successfully raised their chicks – despite being surrounded by numerous predator perches!

Up in the woodlands the bright and cheeky Bullfinch is putting on quite a show at nearby feeding stations. Just wait a few more weeks for buds to emerge and these birds will be busy devouring an alternative food source. Great spotted Woodpecker can be heard most days and the taller trees close to the dedicated feeding station in Pond wood is a favorite haunt. A lovely male Song Thrush was throwing out some amazing notes early this week and with no wind about – it’s song must have traveled a long way – no doubt in the direction of a female.

Its rare to see the Fox of course but lately two have been seen in close proximity. On both occasions the leading Fox caught sight of me and took flight only for a second Fox, seemingly out of nowhere, followed its trail. Was this a breeding pair?

Finally, on the wetlands Teal, Goldeneye, Mallard, Mute Swan, Moorhen and Tufted Duck are providing some interesting entertainment. Check out the male Goldeneye during the next few weeks as it performs its neck-break displays. (Tim Lawrence)



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