2021 Annual Bird Box Summary
For all those interested members, I am pleased to report the following results at year end 2021 on our continuing Bird Box initiative which I hope you will 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 like last year Covid restrictions and other unforeseen circumstances have again made it increasingly difficult to maintain the normal high standards of reporting around the nesting times. Despite these problems Alan Nottage a dedicated volunteer with the Ashdown Forest Bird Group for this area, has continued to give us much help and advice in these difficult times. We do, however, desperately need some help with the recording of bird activity around our many boxes between March/May the prime nesting periods. Alan is finding it very exhausting trying to cover and record all of our boxes at this busy time, and we ask for help from all members when playing golf to watch and record any activity, however insignificant it may seem. Every little helps. Many of our ladies are already helping with this task, but a few extra sightings from any of our members would be very much appreciated. In addition our Green staff have continued to be very helpful in their endeavours in positioning, numbering and the essential cleaning out of all the boxes at the end of the season, so important for identification purposes, and for the comfort and general well-being of their 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 during the months from March/July and gives a comprehensive report on many of our less common birds that frequent our Course. The Bird Group are always delighted to see the ongoing appearances of the Goldcrest, Firecrest, Tree Creeper, Lesser Redpoll, Whitethroat, Linnet, Marsh Tit, Siskin, Redstart, Willow Warbler, Greater Spotted Woodpecker, Green Woodpecker and the elusive Lesser Spotted Woodpecker. The rare Woodlark continues to sing on route to pastures new along with Red Kites who are now regularly becoming frequent passers by. Our Buzzard and Kestrel families continue to give us spectacular displays throughout the Spring/Summer. In addition did any members see the magnificent White Tailed Eagle flying high and circling above the course during its few days flight over parts of the south east on its way home to the reintroduced project which has been in operation since 2019 on the Isle of Wight. The flight path was confirmed by satellite recordings. In total 25 of these birds have now been introduced and we understand this may become a more regular occurrence as the numbers of Eagles being released will be increasing year on year, on a similar note the Bird Group have reported that White Storks are now being spotted in this area, following the re-introduction project that was started in 2019 on the Knepp Re-wilding Estate south of Horsham. Another reason why you should try to keep your eyes peeled upwards occasionally, apparently any sightings of these two magnificent birds is an amazing and rare experience.
The third section contains the end of year inspection, showing that all boxes had well made nests inside, with only 6 dead chicks and 3 unhatched eggs. Although upsetting the Bird Group believe this is still a great result, and similar to last year. All the boxes having been occupied, and we can only assume, therefore, that the majority of chicks, hatched and fledged safely. Nature again this year appears to have addressed the balance, despite the inclement weather conditions experienced at the breeding times, and the continuing 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 around our superb course and heathland habitat. We are still hoping for some signs of Barn Owl activity in the two boxes to the left hand side of the 8th hole. Despite a number of early morning sightings again this year, as yet we have had no signs of nesting. On a more positive note, our Green staff and members who live nearby, are continually reporting much 'twit twoo twit twoo' going on around the vicinity of our two Tawny Owl boxes as well as seeing the Owls early in the mornings. However the Bird Group advise us that much patience is required over a number of years before we may see any positive results, so we will continue to monitor our two boxes on a regular basis. Fingers crossed one year we may see some 'Tawny Owlets'. Again, I would like to record our special thanks to Roy Cottenham and Alan Burdon our two resident 'bird watchers' for their help, knowledge and support, it is always most welcome particularly during the busy nesting/fledging/activity season March/May. As mentioned previously any help in reporting, no matter how small at this busy time, will be most appreciated. My email address for reporting information is email@example.com or message me via the Club website facility.