For all those interested members I am pleased to report the following results at year end 2019 on our continuing Bird Box initiative which I hope you will again find interesting and informative. The Ashdown Forest Bird Group have yet again been very pro-active with constant monitoring, recording and general advice throughout the year. A very special thanks must be given to Alan Nottage their volunteer for our area, for all his hard work and dedication given so freely, also to our own Green staff for their endeavours in positioning, numbering and cleaning out all the boxes at the end of the season, so important for identification purposes and for the comfort and general well-being of the inhabitants.
The first section shows the Box positions and Activity - Prospecting ( P ) Occupied ( O ) and Feeding ( FE )
The second section shows the Sightings and Song recorded on each hole and gives a comprehensive report on many of our less common bird activity, on a monthly basis from April through to September. Are you aware that we have such a diversity of different bird species on our Course? Amazing I'm sure you will agree. The Bird Group are always delighted to see the ongoing appearances of the Goldcrest, Firecrest, Bullfinch and the Lesser Spotted Woodpecker along with its more common relations the Greater Spotted and the Green. Great to see the increased sightings of Tree Creepers and Siskins this year as well as Swallows and the rare Woodlark. In addition, recently a pair of Ravens noisily harassing a Buzzard over head has been reported. I am sure many members have seen others, so please report any unusual sightings as often as possible by email.
The third section contains the end of year inspection, showing one particular disturbing incident of 7 fully fledged dead chicks in Box 11 and this year only a few unhatched eggs. Although upsetting this is a great improvement over last year when we reported a large number of dead chicks and many unhatched eggs in various boxes. Nature will hopefully ensure that things will be less distressing next year. In general terms the success rate for nesting has been excellent this year with all of our 26 boxes containing evidence of nesting, the first for CBGC. The Bird Group agree a fantastic result.
The Ashdown Forest Bird Group continue to be extremely encouraged by our success, and are very keen to continue to support our visual PR exercise and our efforts in supporting the Bird life on our superb course and heathland habitat. It was our intention to move both of our Barn Owl boxes to different locations this year. Regretfully after several years of trying we have not had a scrap of success in attracting these beautiful, but increasingly rare birds to our Course. You may be aware we installed a new box, close to the original, on the recommendations of the Bird Group as it has been established elsewhere in the County that doing this will attract pairs. However, like many other species, they do not get on living together after mating, hence the two box scenario! It is usually the female that 'kicks' the male out, but still needs him for hunting and protection etc. close by. All very interesting, however, after our appeal last year for ideas on what we could do, a CBGC member very generously donated two magnificent Tawny Owl boxes which have been strategically positioned in areas on the Course which are close to already previously reported Tawny Owl territories. The Bird Group are very confident that given time we may be blessed with some Tawny Owlets!! Patience is required!! While on this subject our original box, which did have a few visits several years ago, is now around 16 years old and has become very fragile and unappealing. We decided, therefore, to leave in position just in case! The good news is that very recently our Course Manager was startled by a Barn Owl while working close to one of the boxes. Was it prospecting? Only time will tell, fingers crossed. I would like to record my very special thanks again this year to Roy Cottenham, Alan Burdon and Richard Townsend for their help, knowledge and support. It is always most welcome, particularly during the busy nesting/fledging/activity season, the more reporting you the Members can the make the better for our records. My email address for reporting information is firstname.lastname@example.org or message me via the Club website facility.