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
Bee-eaters nesting on the Isle of Wight have raised eight chicks – the most successful breeding attempt by these birds, normally found in the Mediterranean, on record in the UK.
Three chicks have now fledged from one nest, on National Trust land, and another five chicks have fledged from a second nest.
Bee-eaters on the Isle of Wight. Credit Danny Vokins.
An adult bee-eater was first spotted at Wydcombe on 15 July by National Trust dragonfly survey volunteer Dave Dana. And chicks were first sighted a month later on the 15 August. There were originally thought to be nine chicks but one has not survived.
Dave Dana, a National Trust Volunteer on the Isle of Wight, said: “I’d just come from counting golden-ringed dragonflies at a stream and I thought ‘that bird looks a bit different!’
“Its flight path seemed almost triangular. I didn’t really appreciate the bird until I got home and looked at the photos. I’d always wanted to see a bee-eater in this country but I never thought it would turn out to be a major wildlife event.”
Four bee-eater chicks have fledged on National Trust land on the Isle of Wight thanks to a joint protection operation by the National Trust, the RSPB and Isle of Wight naturalists. It is the first time the birds, who usually nest in southern Europe, have bred successfully in the UK for 12 years.
Three of the chicks fledged last week and the fourth has tried out its wings in the last couple of days. If these survive, this will be the most successful ever bee-eater breeding attempt in the UK. The last successful attempt, which resulted in two chicks, was in county Durham in 2002, the first for 50 years.