Summer birds in the Ruislip Woods : July 2014

Cuckoos have decreased nationally over the last few years. One was heard calling (a male) at Bayhurst Wood on several occasions this spring, and on another at the Lido (but only once). What a shame this is. Does it mean that children will grow up never having heard this sound of Summer?

There have been migrant Willow Warblers, Garden Warblers and Whitethroats on Poor’s Field. (Poor’s Field is included with the woods in the designated Ruislip National Nature Reserve). These birds winter in Africa and have an arduous and hazardous journey back each year (including running the gauntlet of the shooters in the Mediterranean countries). This makes it all the more remarkable that there have again been several singing Reed Warblers at the northern end of the Lido (breeding has not been proved since they are extremely difficult to see). How do these birds make it safely back to England?

The big news is that the Terns are breeding again at the Lido (not officially part of the NNR). A pair nested here in 2011 (first time ever). They were seen prospecting the new tern raft early in the spring and went on to rear three youngsters. This year there are about four pairs breeding on the raft at the northern end if the Lido. Unfortunately the growth of the willows around the edge have made it extremely difficult to view the raft (and actually determine the exact number of nests). When they are catching food (small fish and sometimes insects) they can easily be seen at the more public end. They can usually be identified from the Black-headed Gulls by their more bouncy flight. Incidentally, these birds don’t have to face the Sahara and the shooters – they spend the winter of the West Coast of Africa.

CB 4.7.14

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