Thursday, 4 June 2020

Pitsford breeding birds


A cool, grey day today with the occasional glimpse of sunshine and some light showers (heavy in some places) this afternoon.

Very little seemingly found in the county today as migrants dry up and the breeding birds try their best to raise youngsters.

At Pitsford Reservoir an Osprey was seen over the causeway at about 3.35pm and this morning other birds there included a Hobby, a Little Egret, good numbers of Black-headed Gull chicks on the rafts, the pair of Oystercatchers and broods of Grey Herons on the verge of fledging. The Cormorant colony, numbering some forty active nests has plenty of young and the adult Rooks and their young have now mostly moved away from the two on-site rookeries.

Adult and juvenile Tawny Owls were located and there were plenty of singing Blackcaps and Garden Warblers and a Cetti's Warbler territory, but there appears to be only one pair of Willow Warblers giving it a go this year. Sedge and Grasshopper Warblers are not breeding on the reserve this year and just a few Reed Warblers are on territory. A pair of Shovelers, a few Gadwall and four Pochard were the best of the wildfowl. Common Terns are in reasonable numbers but the gulls have used up a lot of space on the rafts and with one raft out of action the terns will probably not breed in the numbers of recent summers.

First brood Tree Sparrows are out and about as were families of several tit species but sadly it seems that 2020 will be the year when Pitsford finally loses its Willow Tits with no known records so far. The last two years has seen one pair on-site plus a couple of unpaired birds, a far cry from the eighties when there were several birds in each major bay. Like elsewhere they have dwindled and unless we see some new birds coming in from elsewhere (there are very few in the county now) then this last Willow Tit outpost will be lost for good.

Elsewhere and a Barn Owl was hunting the Brampton Valley below Hanging Houghton this morning and the first Common Spotted Orchids are now in flower at Harrington Airfield.


Neil M

Tawny Owl fledgling
(France in 2019).

It's not unusual to see
one of the Oystercatchers
standing on the roof of the
Bird Club hide at Pitsford

Black-headed Gulls seem to be having
a good year at Pitsford this year.

Common Tern.

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