5 March 2013 Environment Minister Richard Benyon today visited Hillesden Farm in Buckinghamshire, which is at the forefront of research work into how Environmental Stewardship can better deliver benefits to wildlife alongside the vital role the scheme plays in investing in England’s farm businesses. Richard Benyon finds out more about winter bird feeding at Hillesden Farm © Linzee Kottman / Natural England For the last five years, Hillesden has been the home of a detailed study where areas of the farm have [...]
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A rather chilly day on the river this one! Wind had been blowing from the east for a week or so but at least it wasn’t raining. As we sailed upriver towards the pickup at Saltash, the 3 Spoonbills were again feeding off Bull Point. Therefore we collected our passengers and went back to have a look…..but they’d flown off! Not a good start. However, we headed back upstream following our usual route and picking up the normal species [...]
You know how on some days everything goes right …..well the 9th Feb trip ticked all the boxes. Firstly we had a dry day, not that frequent recently and although it wasn’t sunny we had light winds, good visibility and it wasn’t that cold either. I joined the boat at Cremyll and as we sailed upstream a Razorbill got us off to a good start – a new species for our cruise list. Then I noticed 2 Spoonbills feeding [...]
The Great Black backs on Looe Island, along with many other species last summer, had a poor breeding season. Although we counted 75 nests containing 197 eggs and two chicks in May, when it came to ringing we were only able to find 27 chicks of which 24 were colour ringed. This compares to 91 colour ringed in 2011 and 49 in 2010. It is not known whether failures occurred during incubation or nestling stages but we suspect that many [...]
Looe Island is a Cornwall Wildlife Trust reserve off Looe in south-east Cornwall. It holds what is now the largest breeding colony of Great Black-backed Gulls with 78 pairs in 2012, 66 pairs in 2011 and 79 pairs in 2010. Historically, Mullion Island, off the Lizard held the largest colony. This was certainly true in the mid 1980s when the Seabird Colony Register noted 117 pairs. However, by Seabird 2000, the last complete national survey, numbers had dropped to 49 [...]
The last couple of days has seen an increase in gulls using the millpond (lake) in Millbrook with 6 species regularly seen. Yesterday I counted a record 15 Mediterranean Gulls and over 50 Common Gulls but John Nicholls counted 24 Meds. Amongst them was a french ringed bird – green ring white code 4V7 which has been seen already this winter in Looe. Both 1st winter, second winter and adult birds were present enabling good comparisons to be made. At [...]
Today I led a group of three clients on a birding trip in the lower Tamar valley. Meeting them from the Cremyll Ferry we immediately started with an adult Mediterranean Gull, firstly sitting on the river and then in flight. Our first stop was Millbrook Lake. As it was high tide the waders, all Redshank, were roosting on the island together with several Little Egret and 4 Cormorant. Plenty of Black-headed and Herring Gulls and a single Little Grebe. We [...]
The OspreyWatch cruise on 2nd September is now full. Phone or email to be put on the waiting list and if we get enough people we may be able to arrange another trip. There have been no local reports of Ospreys so far but it’s still early days. There has been one at Tamar Lakes last weekend and another at Drift Reservoir and at Frogmore Creek on the Kingsbridge Estuary in Devon yesterday and Monday.
We have now confirmed a new ‘OspreyWatch’ cruise in September and this winters birdwatching cruise dates. Go to the Birdwatching Cruises page for all the new information.
Todays bird watching walk along the new footpath from Wacker Quay made a pleasant afternoon. From the quay we enjoyed good views of Curlew and Little Egret, with large numbers of Shelduck feeding along the waters edge on the rising tide. A Great crested Grebe offshore was already sporting full breeding plumage. The footpath running east along the shore, follows the old MOD railway line to Anthony and has recently been opened up by a dedicated team of volunteers working [...]