Tuesday, 8 August 2017

breeding season part 1

Great crested grebe:  After false starts finally young birds at pool hall, so no repeat of last years double brooding and seemingly a poor year regionally, predation or weather?
Little grebe:  attempted to breed at Dunstall Park but probably unsuccessful.
Mute swan:  Pair at Dunstall successfully translocated their 5 young to the canal at the end of last month.  Coincidentally a pair at west park with 5 similar sized young disappeared from their natal area at the same time. both pairs were being monitored so we know the group which appeared by MS centre were the dunstall birds which then moved to Compton and I suspect went south.  The report this week of the family of swans around the dead fish at autherley junction could therefore be the west park birds. The mystery is how they get from the lakes to the canal. ABC taxis maybe airial bird carriers.
Mallard:  Disastrous breeding season with almost all of the many hatchlings predated within days. Lesser black back gulls and herons are the main culprits, but wonder if large pike or even carp attack from below.  The one brood which prospered was at Compton lock where 7 survived for several weeks and five have made it to full size.
Moorhen: Very similar to previous species. young did not appear until early june when pairs elsewhere were hatching second broods. Few survived long but Compton again fared better with 5 (out of initial 6) lasting over a month and 3 still around and fully grown. Speculation as to why relates to nearby haven of smestow brook, presence of long term moorings and better cover unaffected by last autumns bank repairs.


Not a good year.  No reports of any kestrel breeding attempts and the species is becoming a rare sight in the valley.  More surprisingly no reports yet of young sparrowhawks which normally have at least two nests and still waiting to see pristine young buzzards sharing the skies with their dishevelled parents. could the weather be the explanation?

Parakeets: Hopes were raised early in spring by prospecting in newbridge wood but it came to nothing and sightings dropped off.  A sudden surge in sightings at the end of july with up to three birds flying between west park and tettenhall ridge raises the possibility they bred on the ridge somewhere.
Kingfisher:  Only occasional records in spring but in a manner which suggested possible breeding.  An upsurge in reports from june including 2 at the meccano suggests this probably happened.

If you have any info on the swans or the birds covered so far please use the comment facility.