On Sunday eleven of our Young Naturalists made twelve very fine bird boxes to replace some of the older ones on the reserve that have seen better days. Volunteer Geoff very kindly sourced some offcuts of timber and pre-made the kits for the session, leaving the group with the task of putting them together and numbering them, so they could be identified later on and monitored. I’m not sure what they enjoyed the most, the opportunity to use power tools or the opportunity to have a go at pyrography to put their stamp on their creation…
We began by fixing the box pieces together using screws, then attached the lid to the box back using a strip of pond liner so the inside is easily accessible for monitoring and cleaning.
After building the boxes, we numbered them and added the builder’s initials, so we knew who had made which box. Some added more than others…
Whilst the group took it in turns to build their box and embellish it, they recorded the moths in the light trap. There were only eight moths in total, and five different species including a very fine feathered thorn.
They also took part in Seabirdwatch, which those of you who tuned into Autumnwatch last week will be aware of. Seabirdwatch consists of a number of camera trap sites which have been placed around the north Atlantic, and these cameras have taken thousands of images of kittiwakes and guillemots. It invites you to head to the website and after a quick tutorial identify and click on images of birds and their chicks, enabling us to understand more about breeding success, chick survival, time of breeding and much more.
It is a great citizen science project to be involved with, and one which Thomas, Will, Megan, Olivia and Jodie really got behind. Collectively they counted 2427 kittiwakes, 917 guillemots, 66 chicks and 3 other birds, across 36 photos. Thomas was our chief counter, counting birds on 21 of the 36 photos. To get involved and help with the counting, visit their website – there are plenty more photos to look at!
Thomas counting sea birds
Counting sea birds
After finishing our boxes we lined them all up for a group photo and to admire our handiwork:
Some of our group with their finished boxes
Once the boxes are up at suitable locations within the reserve, we will hopefully be able to help out with the checking and monitoring to see who moves in.
After lunch we headed out for a wander, visiting both the Ivy Lake hides and the Woodland hide.
Bird watching from Ivy North Hide
Walking through the woodland
Photographing birds from the Woodland Hide
Bird watching from the Woodland Hide
Thank you to Geoff for taking the time to make up the box kits for the group and for the loan of the pyrography set, I know they all enjoyed having a go at writing and drawing on the wood. Thanks to volunteers Roma, Nigel and Jonathan for joining us for the session.
Our Young Naturalists group is kindly supported by the Cameron Bespolka Trust. The Cameron Bespolka Trust is supporting a talk by Keith Betton on the return of the red kite and peregrine falcon at Winchester College on Wednesday 8th November, at 7pm. More details can be found on their website. Admission is free and there is no need to book, so if you are interested in finding out more about these fantastic birds please do come along.