|Common Gull nest by Ellis Lucas|
I really enjoy seeing new birds and will travel a reasonable distance to see something unusual or a rarity. With nesting it is completely different, the excitement I feel whenever I find a new nest is just as exciting, whatever the bird. To have a peek into its world is great. Watching the dedication of a bird sitting through terrible weather to keep the eggs/chicks warm makes me feel so sorry for them and realise what a comfortable life I have.
|Common Sandpiper nest by Ellis Lucas|
|Oystercatcher nest by Ellis Lucas|
One of the best things about nest recording is that it is a hobby which provides good info for the BTO and can be done whenever there is daylight. Even weeks before the nesting season starts, you can check out birds in a particular area and this gives a good indication of a nest attempt. Earlier this year when out for a walk with my dog, I noticed a Moorhen hanging around a really small pond. The pond had some vegetation near the edge and rushes a little deeper. Good spot to nest I thought. This pond was then dredged by the farmer and a lot of the vegetation was removed. This did not look promising but I noticed the Moorhens (2 this time) about a week later still in the area. Earlier this week (Tuesday 13th April), I found my first Moorhen nest of the year with 6 eggs!
|Dipper nest by Ellis Lucas|
One thing that I am hoping to do this year with the help of a couple of experienced ringers, is to ring the young from the nests I find. I can’t think of anything more exciting than finding a nest very close to home, recording as much as I can about the species (I always make my own notes as well as what the ringer will submit) and learn of its movements. Imagine a Blackbird nesting in your own garden, ringing the chicks and possibly finding out about their presence in another part of the country or even another country if it is recaught. Just incredible!
So apart from it being an exciting hobby and making sure I get plenty of exercise and fresh air, it is playing a valuable part in gathering information on the nesting birds (migrants and resident) of the UK.
To see how you can get involved in nest recording, check out the BTO Nest Record Scheme webpages where you can also find the NRS Code of Conduct for nest recorders.
Ellis Lucas, @ellisethanfox