For all those interested members, I am pleased to report the following results at year end 2020 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. Unfortunately this year due to Lockdowns, and other Covid restrictions it became increasingly difficult to maintain the normal high standards of reporting, especially from our members, with so very little golf played around the nesting times. Despite all these problems a very special thanks must be given to Alan Nottage the Bird Group's volunteer for this 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 sections 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 July. The Bird Group are always delighted to see the ongoing appearances of the Goldcrest, Firecrest, Tree Creeper, Lesser Redpoll, Crossbill, Swallow, Swift, House Martins, various Warblers, Wheatear and again the very rare Woodlark. In addition this year we had a pair of Mallard Ducks prospecting our waterlogged 9th fairway, fortunately they decided to move on after a few days!! I am sure we have all seen or heard the distinctive call from our magnificent family of Buzzards that now frequent the Course and it's surroundings, as well as the occasional visit from a number of Red Kites on route to pastures new and our family of resident Kestrels, often seen around the 1st and 10th. In fact a young Kestrel had taken up temporary residence in the halfway shelter and we managed to get a photo while it was perching on the inside bench. All truly amazing. I am sure many members have seen others, so please report any unusual sightings or song as often as possible by email.
The third section contains the end of year inspection, showing that all boxes had well made Nests inside, with only 5 dead chicks and 2 unhatched eggs. Although upsetting this is a great improvement over last year when you may recall we had 7 dead chicks in just one box, plus several others. The Bird Group, however, believe in general terms that this is an excellent result with all the boxes having been occupied. We can assume the chicks all hatched and fledged safely. Nature this year appears to have addressed the balance, despite the Covid pandemic!!
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. We are still hoping for some signs of Barn Owl activity in the two boxes on the left hand side of the 8th Hole, despite a number of early morning sightings of Barn Owls in this area again this year, as yet we have had no success. You will note from the summary that we are more optimistic with our two Tawny Owl Boxes. There is evidence of Owl nesting material around the aperture of one box (Peter 1) and we will investigate more closely in the Spring next year. Certainly both the Green staff and members who live close to our Course are reporting much 'two wit' 'two woo' going on in this vicinity, so fingers crossed and with much patience we may eventually get some 'Tawny Owlets', which would be certainly a big success story. I would like to record my very special thanks to Roy Cottenham and Alan Burdon for their help, knowledge and support, it is always most welcome, particularly during the busy nesting/fledging/activity season. Remember the more reporting you the Members can make the better for our records, so every email I receive is much appreciated. My email address for reporting information is firstname.lastname@example.org or message me via the Club website facility.
Many thanks,Jim Tyrrell