As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time
Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a
regular segment on On The Track... about out-of-place birds,
rare vagrants, and basically all things feathery and Fortean.
Because we live in strange times, there are more and more bird stories that
come her way, so she has now moved onto the main CFZ bloggo with a new column
with the same name as her aforementioned ones...
White-tailed eagles nesting
in Ireland for first time in 100 years
BirdWatch Ireland welcomed the return of nesting
white-tailed eagles (Haliaeetus
albicilla) earlier in the month on a small island on Lough Derg, near
Mountshannon in County Clare, which marks the first documented evidence of
breeding since the species became extinct from Ireland over 100 years ago.
Human persecution was the primary reason behind the disappearance of the white-tailed
eagle from Ireland during the early 20th Century. However, a reintroduction
scheme was initiated by the Golden Eagle Trust in 2007 with the aim of
re-establishing these birds in Ireland.
The breeding pair laid eggs and hatching was anticipated for the last
week of May.
movements and behaviour of these birds were closely monitored with anticipation
by Dr. Allan Mee, project manager of the white-tailed eagle reintroduction
scheme for the Golden Eagle Trust. He commented: "We had hopes that this
pair might try and build a nest but because the birds are relatively young we
really didn't expect them to breed", Dr. Mee added. "The odds are
stacked against young first-time breeders because they have no experience of
nest-building, mating and caring for eggs and young. They have to get
everything right to succeed. But so far so good".
on the positive news, John Lusby, Raptor Conservation Officer with BirdWatch Ireland said, "It was through human
influence that these magnificent birds were previously driven to extinction in
Ireland, the significant efforts on the part of the Golden Eagle Trust, the
NPWS and the other bodies involved in this project have been well rewarded by
this news of breeding, which is the first step in rectifying the historical
losses. Although there may be tentative moments ahead, we hope that the pair
will be successful and that by the end of the summer the first Irish born
White-tailed Eagle in over 100 years will be back in our skies".
just before 6pm of 15th May both birds deserted the nest and spent the next few
hours perched together in a nearby tree, returning to the nest for a short
period before leaving again. At this point it was clear that something had
happened and the breeding attempt had failed. A search of the nest by National
Parks & Wildlife Service and Golden Eagle Trust staff on 16th May found the
remains of an egg and a chick confirming that the breeding attempt had failed
at the point of hatching.
Dr. Allan Mee, project manager of the White-tailed Eagle Reintroduction
Programme, said ‘Although it's disappointing the birds have failed to rear
chicks it was fantastic they bred so young and got as far as the hatching
stage. The pair incubated their egg/s for almost 7 weeks and showed themselves
to be great parents, building a nest, bringing food to the nest and sharing the
duties at the nest for the whole incubation period. This experience will stand
to them on their next breeding attempt in 2013.'
England's Shapwick Heath National Nature Reserve in Somerset welcome nesting
great white egrets
volunteers have been protecting the rare visitors with 24-hour surveillance of
It could mean that
the UK's first great white egret (Ardea alba) colony is
"To have an
amazing bird like a great white egret, which is the size of a grey heron [and]
bright white, nesting here is just phenomenal," said Simon Clarke, reserve
manager for Shapwick Heath.
across the world with an estimated population of two million birds, there are
no records of great white egrets having bred in the UK.
"We needed to
get a 24-hour warden service up to protect the nest from the risk of 'eggers'
[egg collectors]," he told BBC Nature.
from Natural England, the RSPB and the Somerset Ornithological Society were
quick to help out.
three organisations and staff as well, we've been able to offer 24-hour
protection through what we saw as the dangerous period for the eggs."
persecuted for their long breeding plumage feathers to the extent that an
estimated 200,000 birds were killed in a single year at the turn of last
The single nest
could be the start of a future UK breeding colony of great white egrets and
signs are looking positive for success.
The adult birds
are making regular flights into the nest, indicating that they are feeding
young, although Natural England is waiting until chicks have been positively
identified before it can announce the UK's newest species of breeding bird.
keeping everything crossed basically and we're just watching and hoping we get
some good news in the next few weeks," said Mr Clarke.
Ravens raise three young at RSPB The Lodge
Ravens (Corvus corax) have successfully fledged three young at the RSPB The Lodge Nature Reserve in Sandy, Bedfordshire. Ravens became extinct in the country during the 19th Century and until recently there had been only one record of a bird in 1978 seen at Everton – this being the only one during the whole century. From the beginning of the 21st Century more sightings were recorded and in recent years birds have bred around Whipsnade. They appear to be spreading westwards, as did the common buzzard.
The RSPB speaks out for birds and
wildlife, tackling the problems that threaten our environment. Nature is
amazing - help us keep it that way. The Royal Society for the Protection of
Birds (RSPB) is a registered charity: England and Wales no 207076, Scotland no
RSPB The Lodge, Sandy is open
daily. There is a car park charge for non-members of £4 per vehicle.
For more information or raven
images please contact Mark Brandon on 01767 693253
Rare ducks spotted on River Hull near Driffield
For the first time in decades rare ducks and
avocets have been breeding at Tophill Low Nature Reserve, on the River Hull,
near Driffield in East Yorkshire.
warden said pintail (Anas acuta) and garganey (Anas
querquedula) ducks were breeding on the site for the first
time in 20 years.
male (l) and female (r) pintails - photo: Wikipedia
the warden at the nature reserve, which is a Site of Special Scientific
Interest, said: "We have already seen a marked improvement in species
using the reserve."
The work had also
helped the first breeding attempt by avocets on the reserve.
male garganey - picture: Wikipedia
He hoped birds
like the bittern, marsh harrier, sedge and reed warbler, many insects and
numbers of coarse fish will benefit from the work.
A new habitat is
also being created for otters on the river.
Nick Appleyard, of
the Environment Agency, said the river washing around the trees had been
causing erosion to the bank and clearing fallen tree trunks from the water had
increased the river's capacity.
Work to repair
damaged sections of the riverbank using material dug out of the river will be
finished within a week.
shallows provide new habitat for young and spawning fish and shallow water for
The work is a
partnership between Yorkshire Water's and the Environment Agency.
bird appearance causes stir
60 years to the day of its last
sighting, a rare tree pipit (Anthus trivialis) was seen at the RSPB
Its unusually accurate timing
thrilled RSPB Scotland site manager, Zul Bhatia.
He told the Paisley Daily Express: “It’s a pretty unusual record for the
reserve anyway, but for it to land on exactly the same date as the last time it
was reported is amazing.
“We checked our records and the
last sighting of the pipit at Lochwinnoch was in 1952 – exactly 60 years to the
day before this latest visit.
“It’s incredible and has definitely
caused quite a stir at the reserve.”
The reserve team had a double
reason to celebrate, as the tree pipit has been added to their 2012 bird list,
which is now up to 105 species thanks to the find by bird enthusiast, Angus
Tree pipits are widespread summer
visitors to the UK, and occur in particularly high densities in western
Their population has undergone
decline over the past 25 years, especially in central and southern England.
To find out more about the RSPB
Lochwinnoch’s events, projects and wildlife, call 01505 842 663, email email@example.com,
or follow RSPB Lochwinnoch on Twitter and Facebook.
Portuguese tufted ducks return to east London after winter on the Med
A pair of rare Portuguese tufted
ducks (Aythya fuligula) returned to London. They arrived with markings on the beaks that
were linked a nature reserve in Portugal.
Tufted duck similar to the pair seen, with beak markings
“The ducks were definitely ‘an item’,”
observed a biodiversity officer. “They travelled separately when they flew
south last season and the same coming back, several days apart, but definitely
seem to be together once they settled here.”
had been marked by scientists at Portugal’s Soa Jacinto Dunes nature reserve.
reserve officials at Blackwall also reported a Red Kite making a rare
appearance in east London flying up-river along the Thames.
The bird of
prey with its distinctive dark red plumage and long fork tail was spotted by
the biodiversity team, before being seen above Canary Wharf, then over the
Tower of London. The nearest breeding and hunting ground is the Chiltern Hills
30 miles west.
became extinct in most of Britain in the last century after hundreds of years
of being hunted as unwanted scavengers.
making a big comeback after a successful programme to reintroduce them in 1989,
according to the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds which says the
colonies in the Chilterns are now the most densely populated in Europe.
Lady of the loch - osprey success
Extraordinarily, 'Lady' has hatched her first chick of 2012, and 2 more eggs are still incubating.
Lady, as she has become known, is a
remarkable 26-year-old bird (Ospreys live on average just 8 years), that has
raised 48 chicks so far, at Scottish Wildlife Trust's Loch of the Lowes
wildlife reserve. This is her story. More details
Loch of the Lowes
birdie: Thousands of twitchers flock to golf course to see rare bird
Nearly 2,000 people turned up at England’s highest course to watch a cream-coloured courser (Cursorius cursor) which landed on the eighth fairway of Kington Golf Club in Herefordshire. The bird lives in the deserts of North Africa and the Middle East and one was last seen on the mainland in 1984.
Club professional Dan Jarman, 28, said yesterday:
“It was carnage up here - I’ve never seen so many cameras.
"The twitchers were like ants over the golf
course, it was crazy.
"One guy came all the way from the Isle of
Skye and others turned up from London, Newcastle and Manchester.
“One twitcher told me this was rarer than finding
s*** from a rocking horse.
The courser finally flew off from the course, which
at its highest point is 1,284-feet, and headed south west across the Welsh
border on Wednesday afternoon.
BirdGuides expert Josh Jones drove through the
night to be among the first people to see the courser.
John, 22, from London, said: “I was at Victoria
tube station when I heard about it at 10.45pm on Sunday. I went home and jumped
in the car and arrived on the course at 4am.
A second Osprey chick has hatched
at Rutland Water.
definition cameras placed near the nest caught the moment both chicks came into
one of a few places in England that these rare birds make their home.
they started breeding here 18 years ago, ospreys (Pandion haliaetus) hadn’t been seen in Britain for
to the dedication of the osprey team and volunteers from the Leicestershire and
Rutland Wildlife Trust, these magnificent birds are returning to Rutland
Osprey's nest in Rutland Water Credit: ITV Central
chicks will stay in the nest for around two months, getting regular helpings of
fish from mum and dad, before migrating to West Africa.
they make the three thousand mile journey alone, using their own internal sat
return until they are at least 2 years old, and even then, not always to the
see live images of the chicks in their Manton Bay nest by logging
Sea eagles poisoned in Ireland
Irish Minister, Jimmy Deenihan has condemned the apparent poisoning
of White- tailed Eagles (Haliaeetus albicilla) in Mayo and Donegal
The young Mayo eagle, which had been released in
Killarney National Park in 2010, was carrying a satellite tag to track its
movements, and when the tag showed the bird was not moving about, a search was
carried out by National Parks and Wildlife Service staff and the Golden Eagle
Trust. The dead bird was found on the shores of Lough Beltra in County Mayo. Post mortem results showed that not only had
the eagle got high concentrations of poison in its body, but it had also been
shot at some time in the past, and had shotgun pellets in its body. It is not
clear whether the shooting and poisoning were related incidents.
Post mortem results from another eagle, found dead recently
in the Blue Stack mountains in Donegal, also had been poisoned.
The Minister said "The satellite tracking shows that
these birds had been wandering over hundreds of coastal, hill and lowland farms
in recent months unmolested and without concern. I understand that landowners
in Mayo were actively sending in regular sightings to the project manager/team.
I am, therefore, very disappointed that some unknown individuals would wantonly
try to kill these magnificent birds".
"Finding the White-tailed Eagle dead in such a beautiful
part of Mayo was saddening", said Dr. Allan Mee of the Golden Eagle Trust,
and project manager of the White-tailed Eagle project. "After releasing
this male eagle in Killarney National Park in 2010 we have been following its
movement with great interest. Last year it spent over 5 months in north Mayo where
it had been undoubtedly fishing on some of the rivers and lakes there before
returning to Kerry for the winter".
Dr Mee continued "It returned to the same areas in Mayo
in late March and would probably have spent the summer there again. It's tragic
to think someone for some unknown reason would kill it. We would like to
acknowledge the cooperation and goodwill shown to the reintroduction project by
local communities throughout Ireland especially farming and fishing
communities. It is ironic to think that at the same time as the reintroduction
project is now bearing the fruit of this cooperation with birds nesting and
generating huge interest in Co. Clare, one of our birds has been needlessly
The National Parks and Wildlife Service are investigating the
killings. Minister Deenihan urged that anyone with information about the matter
should contact the local Garda Siochána or the National Parks and Wildlife
Service on 095-41054.
Two golden eagles,
that nested in Co Donegal from 2005 – 2011 have not been seen since. The birds would usually return to the same
area and the likelihood that both have died of natural causes is very small,
leading to the suspicion that they have been killed, most likely by poison.