A Special Eco Club

Saturday, May 31st 2014

The weather has not been very good during the last week, cold and wet but today was dry, and not too cold.  Birds were the topic for Eco Club.  Tony explained to the children why birds are ringed in the nest boxes and how the weather can cause problems for the adults trying to feed their chicks.

Initially we 'lost' the first nest box we were going to check but Jenny found it.  It was not an easy place to get to, but children and adults managed.

Getting to the nest box

The box was opened and the tiny chicks taken out carefully and placed into a bag.  The nest was made up of moss and lined with Roe Deer hair.  Grace scribed, recording the ring number and who ringed the bird. After receiving their rings the chicks were placed back into their nest.

Looking at the chicks

As we headed to the next nest box we stopped to watch a wasp on a bridge rail, collecting wood for its nest.  

Wasp collecting wood

Our next box was in the non-intervention area.  This part of the reserve is not touched at all.  Tony checked the chicks and found that they were still too small to have their rings fitted.  He explained that as the weather had been wet and cool the adults will have had problems finding enough food and so the chicks had not grown as expected.  

Bluebells are growing all over the reserve, in places we have not seen them before.  Some are now setting seed, but in the non intervention area they are still in full flower.

Bluebells

After refreshments we set off to look at some Kestrel chicks, with help from John.  He collected 5 chicks from the nest box and Liz and Sue ringed them.  The children saw the different size of ring used.  They also felt the weight of a chick in the bag as it waited to be returned to the nest.  John explained that the chicks were different ages and that sometimes, if food was short, the youngest ones did not survive.

Looking at the Kestrel chick

Once all five chicks were ringed John returned them to the nest.   The chicks looked well fed.  John showed the children a dead Bank Vole that had been left in the nest by the parents.

Everyone thoroughly enjoyed seeing the chicks and watching them being ringed.  A huge thank you to Tony, John, Liz and Sue who spent time with us at a very busy time of year for the bird ringers.  Thank you also to everyone who helped finding boxes, making drinks and tidying up.


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