Carr Vale Sightings Report by Mark Beevers

Bad day for the oystercatcher chicks

Firstly late news from 23rd is that a Little Egret was present during the afternoon and a Barn Owl was seen late evening at Pooleys Farm (far south-east of the recording area). Bank Holiday weekend update and on 24th the female Garganey had returned (the male seems to have relocated to Ogston, so little prospect of a breeding attempt), female Pochard, a Little Egret briefly, a very late Snipe and a distant Peregrine. On 25th the female Garganey was seen again, two Arctic Terns flew north-east, 60 Herring, 30 Lesser Black-backed and two Great Black-backed Gulls were still present and a Hobby spent an hour hunting over the reserve. On 26th the two regular male Teal, the female Garganey and three Pochard (two males) were all still present as were the resident pairs of Oystercatchers and Common Terns. Thereafter things slowed up, as to be expected really, with on 27th a good count (for the time of year) of 35 Gadwall, calling Water Rail and Peregrine the only birds of note whilst on 28th just the regulars i.e. pair of Teal, two male Pochard, resident pairs of Oystercatcher and Common Tern, Herring and Common Gull and 50 House Martins. On the breeding front bad news in respect of the Great-crested Grebes (they seem to have failed), Oystercatchers (all three young killed on or about 25th, presumably by the Black-headed Gulls off the adjacent tern raft, as has happened in previous years. At least this year they lived longer than the usual 24-48 hours) and all 24 Black-headed Gull nests on the West Pond have been predated, presumably by the adult Lesser Black-backed Gull that was on the rafts on 26th. More positive news is that the pair of Mute Swans are still sitting, despite their ridiculous choice of nest site, nine to ten broods of Canada Geese have got at least 33 young, six broods of Mallard have been seen so far and on Meadow Flash there are six broods of Coot along with two nests, plus one of the original brood pairs has relaid a second time whilst a pair of Tawny Owls have at least two young in the sewage works.