Its worth a visit

Encouraging signs in the Valley.

28/06/2016 18:44

After being otherwise engaged with my new baby daughter over the past 3/4 weeks it was nice to get back in the field this week to try and asses the fortunes of most of the breeding birds in my part of the Calder Valley.

Of partcular interest is the 3 colonies of Sand Martins we have on the river between Healy Road Ossett and the ASDA Supermarket in Dewsbury.The main colony nr Healy Road contained at its peak in May some 40/42 pairs of birds.This colony has suffered over the last 2 Summers with attacks by Mink with very few youngsters been produced.However it would appear that they have so far remained unmolested and its a long time since Iv seen so many young birds feeding mainly on the local Sewage Works over the last 2 days with a count this morning of some 65+ juveniles mostly perched precariously on small bushesin the central lagoons.Activity at the main Sand Martin colony is now very subdued with only around 5 pairs of birds feeding what is presumably large young in the nest.

The 2nd Colony on the Calder just below Earlsheaton contained at its peak some 20 pairs of adults but there are still some 10 pairs entering nesting burrows there so presumably there should be yet more young ones to emerge.

The 3rd smaller colony at ASDA Dewsbury contained only 8 pairs and it would appear that these birds have also had a good season.

2 pairs of Goosanders have managed to produce 20 chicks between them mainly around the Horbury Bridge part of the valley.1 bird was seen with 12 chicks and another with 8 chicks just a couple of days ago.

Reed Warblers also seem to have done well with 11 birds carrying food to nests on Dewsbury Sewage Works this morning.Sedge Warblers  not as prolific as in previouse years with only 4 pairs present in my part of the valley this Summer.

House Martins despite showing signs of promise in the Spring appear to have been present in much diminished numbers in this area this year with several people complaining localy that birds have not returned to nest on their houses for the first time in several years.

Whitethroats appear to be about the same as last year with 5 pairs on Dewsbury Sewage Works and 4 pairs on Kerries Reserve Ossett all feeding young .