BTO/SWLA Flightlines Project 2015 – Norfolk
Its the hottest day of the year and I’m walking around a reserve in the middle of the Brecks in my wetsuit. Why? Good question. I’m expecting to jump in the water at any moment... Oh my goodness, wading through the reeds waist high in chilling water and we see the finest Reed Warbler nest, almost missed it. Inside is the tiniest little pink creature. A one day old Cuckoo chick with two remaining warbler eggs! H and I return the following day and he’s on his own!Esther Tyson
Harriet Mead and Carry Akroyd joined Jeff Baker, a BTO ringer who volunteers with the RSPB’s Stone-curlew Team, to monitor the breeding ecology and movements of these unusual looking birds. Carry’s pieces from the trip really capture the open nature of the Breckland landscape, and its diverse range of land-uses dominated by arable farming, military ranges and plantation woodland. Harriet Mead, this time joined by Esther Tyson, spent two evenings in Thetford Forest watching Nightjars. The birds using this plantation woodland are being monitored by BTO researchers Ian Henderson and Greg Conway, who are using tiny tracking devices to investigate how the Nightjars use the area. The tracking devices are also being used to follow a number of the birds as they migrate south to their African wintering grounds. Very little is known about the location of these wintering grounds or about the routes that the Nightjars take during migration. Harriet and Esther also spent some time in a very different habitat, donning wetsuits to join nest recorder Dave Leech as he monitored Reed Warblers and Cuckoos breeding in some East Anglian reed beds. This long-term study provides a fascinating insight into the lives of these two species, both intimately linked by the Cuckoo laying its eggs into Reed Warbler nests. How young Cuckoos, which have never seen their true parents, manage to make that first migratory journey to Central Africa is one of the most astounding acts of bird migration.