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South Kilworth Birds

September 11th, 2018 in Notice Board by admin

As I have not managed to write any form of monthly update so far in 2018, here is a brief summary of the year so far.

January

A quick look at the reservoir on New Year’s Day produced 9 Snipe, a Cetti’s Warbler and over 100 Pochard. Later in the month several Goosander and Little Egret started to appear.

February

A great start early in the month with a female Ruddy Duck appearing for just a day. Snipe numbers in the fields surrounding the reservoir were building with 15 birds on the 3rd. the two resident Cetti’s Warblers (one in each county) could be heard during the early part of the month. A Great White Egret was seen over the dam on the 19th February – rarer and considerably larger (Heron size) than the more frequent Little Egret.

March

As we moved into the end of February and beginning of March the really cold weather arrived. I managed (just) to get to the reservoir on 1st March – it was freezing cold but the trip was rewarded with 3 Whooper Swans (uncommon winter visitor to the UK). 

The Whooper Swans had departed the following day with the only birds of note being 2 Goosander and 15 Teal. That said, the snow drifts on Welford Road were particularly impressive!

Birding conditions continued to be challenging as March progressed although an Oystercatcher on the 11th gave some sign of hope that Spring wasn’t far away.

I was away birding for 8 days in the sunshine of Eilat during the middle of March. On my return I managed to find 5 Common Scoter (a pretty rare visitor to the reservoir) on the 25th. The group was made up of 5 male and 1 female. Common Scoter are normally a sea duck but in poor weather conditions can get forced down onto local reservoirs. 

Sadly, the low water of 2017 was a distant memory but the dam area still continued to attract the odd wading bird with Curlew, Redshank and Dunlin all recorded towards the end of the month. The first returning Sand Martins were also recorded around this time. 

April

The first Swallow was reported in the early part of April and the dam produced another wader on the 3rd in the form of a Greenshank. This was a very early record indeed when compared to 2017 (when we had lots of mud) with the first record being on the 25th April. 

The first Osprey was reported on the 8th April and around the same time the first House Martins started to arrive. On the same day a Sandwich Tern was seen briefly which is a cracking record for the reservoir. The middle of the month delivered the first Red-crested Pochard of the year – a drake which hung around for a day or so. 

Whooper Swan

Common Scoter

A dead Black-headed Gull which was ringed as a chick turned out to be 24 years old (the oldest ever record being 29 years) so a good record for the reservoir. Excitement grew towards the end of the month as the long awaited tern rafts were deployed by Severn Trent. Designed to float, with anchoring, the rafts have Perspex sides to deter predators and a good amount of shingle for Terns and Oystercatchers to lay their eggs on. The old rafts were long gone and we were optimistic that we would have some success over the next 2-3 years.

Not long after the two rafts were anchored we were starting to see some interest from the Common Terns arriving from their wintering grounds. The month of April was rounded off with the first Cuckoo of the year.

May

It was more of the same in May including the arrival of some of the later summer arrivals such as Swift and Hobby. Common Tern numbers increased and we saw the first signs of the potential breeding on one of the rafts in the first year. May also saw the arrival of the first Black Tern of the year – this species has been annual for the past few years. This was followed on the 24th May with a further 7 Black Terns – the best return for a few years and always great to see in breeding plumage. 

June 

Common Terns continued to perform and we were delighted to see that a pair had taken up residence on one of the rafts with young terns hopefully later in the season. 15th June saw an early returning Common Sandpiper on the dam. 

July 

July saw more of the same birds and the Common Terns on the raft finally hatched two chicks (which are still doing well as I write this). At the end of the month a total of 11 Common Sandpipers were present on the dam – one of the highest counts we have had at the reservoir. 

So overall, a really good start to the year with lots of potential still as we move into Autumn. For up to date sightings information please visit www.stanfordrg.org.uk or contact me on 01858 571156 / email chris_hubbard8@yahoo.com

Chris Hubbard

Author: admin

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