Monday, 4 May 2015

Mutes and Screamers

At the end of last month I updated you all on the status on the swans that I keep an eye on and this week I am pleased to say that another pair has nested.


This untagged pair has built a scant nest on my patch. The pair have been seen the past few weeks moving up and down the river looking for a suitable spot and have finally chosen a bank side off an inlet on to the river.

I am skeptical of its chances of success, its fairly close to the water and not very well built up risking flood waters, it is also close to the steps before Guys Cliffe a place popular with people who allow their dogs to swim. I think the rain or disturbance mean that it is unlikely that I will see any cygnets this year here.

Elsewhere the canal pair seem to be doing well. In fact they built four nests before settling on one to lay in. I still have to check on the St Nicholas Park pair but suspect they too will have nested by now.

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Last weeks patch visit was one of firsts. On my usual tour of the patch I recorded the seasons first Swallows, Whitethroat and Willow Warbler. There are now at least 6 Whitethroats on the site all singing merrily trying to attract one another's attention and find a mate.

Female ducks are still absent and so I hope still on eggs, sadly ducklings do not last long on the Avon, mortality in the first week is incredibly high. In previous years I have seen brood go from 12 ducklings to just 2 in the space of 5 days. In the past predators such as Mink and Pike have been the problem, but I haven't seen a mink in years and I rarely see their footprints in the mud, this is a promising sign.

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Last week I was incredibly frustrated to discover that I had forgotten to switch my remote camera back on after changing the memory card. For 7 days it sat passively watching but not recording, only weeks before the wind had blown the camera upwards revealing only clips of the sky and branches. Thankfully this week all is well and I started to get some interesting sightings. 

There has been a noticeable absence of wood mice, this could be due to the increase in vegetation, they can perhaps now forage without triggering the camera, I m not totally convinced, there is enough bare ground for their detection. Most interesting is the increase in Fox sightings. One such shot includes two foxes together. Their activity has increased in frequency and the time of day with more observations in daylight hours, I m suspecting cubs to follow, or perhaps that should be hoping.

On interesting clip only shows a fox for a fraction of a second, what is more interesting is the sounds recorded. Such screams that get louder and louder, I m not sure if these come from a Fox, they can vocalise in shrieks and screams or if it is some unfortunate prey such as a Jackdaw or Rabbit, take a listen and see what you think:

video