More than 100 nestboxes have been ‘uncorked’ as Peak District rangers prepare for the return of a rare migrant bird.
Over 30 pairs of rare pied flycatchers arrive in the ancient oak woodlands at Padley Gorge, near Sheffield, from West Africa every spring.
To make sure there are enough nest boxes for the red-listed birds National Trust rangers stopper the entrance holes to 100 boxes in March to prevent blue tits and great tits from using the homes. Around 20 rangers and volunteers return in April to remove the bungs.
National Trust ranger Mark Bull removes the cork bungs from pied flycatcher nest boxes in Padley Gorge, near Sheffield. CREDIT: David Bocking
Malcolm Fisher, visitor services manager, said: “It has been a good year for frogs. We have one pond that was absolutely jam packed with frogs this year.
“The toads’ spawning season is just past its peak. There were times when people had to watch where they were walking because there were so many toads on the footpaths, trying to get to our ponds.”
Families visiting Sheringham Park can look forward to seeing the tadpoles grow into froglets and toadlets in the coming weeks.
Mr Fisher added: “We created one pond in the park just seven years ago. It’s a place we encourage families to visit. In the last three years we have had good numbers here.”
The parkland at Sheringham was set out by star Georgian landscape designer Humphrey Repton and is home to a variety of wildlife including chiffchaff, woodpeckers and the holly blue butterfly.
Parkland is one of fifty ‘priority’ wildlife habitats hand-picked by government as needing support. The National Trust aims to create 25,000 hectares of new ‘priority’ nature habitats by 2025 – equivalent to over 30,000 Premier League football pitches.