Many Yorkshire birdwatchers will have been to Worlaby Carrs, North Lincs to see the annual winter spectacle of short eared owls with up to 24 counted in the air at the same time.
Worlaby Carrs is rough pasture and has been left unworked since 2000 as part of a Higher Level Countryside Stewardship in an agreement between the owner and DEFRA. This agreement runs out on September 30, 2013 and the owner has indicated that he may plough the area up and plant arable crops.
If this happens, there is no suitable alternative in the area for the owls that arrive in October, then leave in March.
Other species that may be seen there include:
Hen and marsh harriers, kestrels, peregrines, merlins and both common and rough legged buzzards, snipe and other wading birds.
There is an e-petition for the Carrs to be preserved that you may be interested to sign:
Bulletin No. 6 September 2012. This bulletin complements the Yorkshire Red Kites Newsletter Issue 14 now available at: www.yorkshireredkites.net
The overall figures for the 2012 breeding season show an increase in new young so we continue to remain confident about the long term success of the East Yorkshire Red Kite population. We are pleased to report that 8 known breeding pairs were indeed successful, an increase of 2 from 2011. Several tangible factors resulted in nest site monitoring being particularly difficult again, just as in previous years, with a trend for established pairs to ‘up sticks’ and move to new nest sites.
Unfortunately, 1 established pair which was inadvertently disturbed in 2011, resulting in them ‘deserting’, failed to return to the nest site this season.
As we do not have access to three known nest sites, we have had to resort to observing from the public highway. The regular presence of birds at two of them and the sighting of fledged young indicated that both were successful this season.
We and the owners of nest site EY11 were delighted that the pair, new but unsuccessful in 2011, decided to return and this time bred successfully.
This Newsletter contains details of the 2012 Yorkshire Red Kite breeding season and news of other developments since the previous edition. More information about the birds and the Project is available on the above website, where there is also a facility for reporting sightings and other information.
Breeding in 2012:
Territorial pairs: Pairs were located at 30 sites at which a presence had not been recorded in 2011. It is likely that these were a combination of new pairs; pairs which had been present but undetected in 2011 and some which had moved from other locations – no fewer than 18 sites occupied in 2011 being vacant in 2012.Overall, 94 territorial pairs were located, an increase on the 2011 figure of 82. Some of these were in new areas and confirmed the ongoing geographical spread and consolidation of the population away from the core area.
Confirmed breeding: 92 breeding pairs were confirmed – 18 more than in 2011. 78 pairs were successful and raised at least 145 young. Several nests failed at the small chick stage, it being likely that the combination of torrential rain and cold nights took their toll. Conversely, young which were well-feathered stood up well to the frequent bouts of heavy rain to which they were subjected. The average young raised per successful pair (1.86) was down on the previous figure (2.10), though the overall results were appreciably better than expected.
One nest failure occurred due to its partial collapse - whilst there were remarkable escapes at two others, they being found in heaps on the ground. There were no remains of young birds underneath them and searches in the surrounding woodland produced sightings of fledged young. In another instance two young were apparently blown from their nest, being found on the ground below. One was dead but the other was alive and well. The fortuitous availability of a ‘cherry-picker’ enabled the live bird to be placed in a safe position in a tree close to the nest site. It survived, as did a third young one which had escaped being blown from the nest.