Friday, 17 June 2016

Terns and ducks!


Efforts were made by a small team of ringers today to visit the tern rafts at Pitsford Reservoir where they found plenty of Common Tern eggs and thirty-two chicks. Exposed to the conditions they are vulnerable to extreme weather during the first few days off their life, but if they avoid overheating or chilling then they soon toughen up. Sections of tubing are on the rafts to allow the chicks to shuffle under cover should they be attacked or suffer a deluge or prolonged periods of hot sunshine.

The adults will be working hard to find food for their young, but it means leaving them on the rafts whilst they hawk insects and dive for fish fry, and often they leave Pitsford to forage at other reservoirs and and even quite small lakes to find sufficient food. Collectively terns will try to drive off avian predators such as large gulls, raptors etc so providing there are some adults present on the rafts they are often successful at achieving minimal chick and egg predation. We are hopeful for a bumper 2016 for this species after a series of mediocre years.

Nine Mallard were caught and ringed in the duck trap at Pitsford today, seven of them ducklings well on their way to full adult size. Nationally there are concerns that Mallard numbers are reducing in number, thought to be due to ducklings not surviving their early life and making it through their first year. The early broods at Pitsford seemed to do well this year, possibly assisted by the high water levels.


Neil M

Common Tern egg
and a just-hatched chick.

Image courtesy of Lynne Barnett.

Tree Sparrow.


Broad-bodied Chaser.

Eyed Hawk-moth.

Painted Lady butterfly. There are apparently
quite a few on their way to us from the south!

Azure Blue Damselfly.

Burnett Companion Moth.

Grass Snake.

Male Broad-bodied Chaser.

All images courtesy of David Arden
from his stunning wildlife garden at

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