Its worth a visit
Most of local Summer visitors in now but some omissions and numbers are down.
Now that it can be assumed that all the Summer visiting birds are back at their breeding sites one can asses how numbers and species can compare to previouse years.
Certainly there are some species which have just not turned up.Amongst these in my part of the Calder valley are the Cuckoo which is absent so far for the second year in a row.Up to 2 years ago we where lucky to have 2 birds patrolling the local Reed Warbler colonies which provided excellent breeding opportunities for them.2 places I have visited recently have both had Cuckoos one being at Swillington (2 birds just flying over and Fairburn where one of the Cuckoos there has been very obliging posturing for photographers at the Newton end of the Reserve.Theres a little time yet for our birds to appear but they are usualy singing localy by the 20th May.
Lesser Whitethroats has been a predictable species around Ossett and Dewsbury in previouse years but so far none have appeared.We usualy have 1 or 2 singing Grasshoper Warblers along the river bank between Ossett and Dewsbury but again not this year fo far.
Not all bad news though a brand new Sand Martin site had 72 newly created nesting holes though it is difficult to estimate how many of these are being used(birds appear to be on eggs at the present time) there was at least 42 pairs on the site in late April.
There are now 14 pairs of Reed Warblers around the dewsbury sewage works/Kerries foods area and Whitethroat numbers appear to have remained similar to previouse years.5 pairs of Canada Geese have hatched young around the Mill Bank area and Little Grebes are again nesting in the Earlsheaton area.For the first time a pair of Kestrels are nesting in a box in Ossett and hopefully our single pair of Barn Owls will again be succesfull.Common Buzzards are again obviously present at 4 sites with their displays.
Egg predation is a big concern with at least a hundred Carrion Crows around the lower Pildacre fields Most of them are split into small groups and are stationed above known nesting sites just waiting for unspecting birds to be flushed from the nest so they can swoop down and grab the eggs.