Friday, 27 April 2012

Gibside's Wildlife - Birds

Lots of Gibside's birds are busy nesting now.  Red kites, buzzards and kestrels are back in their nesting territories and sitting on eggs while sparrowhawks are putting the finishing touches to their new nests and will begin laying over the next few weeks.

Young kite

Young buzzard

We erected lots of new nest-boxes earlier in the year and a good number of these have been occupied by blue tits, great tits and nuthatches.  Larger boxes were also provided for both tawny and barn owls, woodpeckers and gooseanders.

Great tit's nest with eight eggs

Swallows have arrived back at the stables and are already checking out possible nest-sites.  We will again be installing a camera at a suitable nest and viewing live on-screen footage in the wildlife room.  Great tits have also again used one of the nest-boxes and footage of these can also be seen.  Sadly the tawny owl nest-box has not been occupied this year.

Tawny owl in nest-box

Summer visitors are arriving now with blackcap, chiffchaff and willow warbler all singing from prominent perches to advertise their presence and attract a mate.  Listen also for skylarks and curlew on the 'Skyline Walk' and lots of other songbirds around the woodland walks.

Skylarks nest

This sunday 29th April our Conservation Rangers are leading a 'Dawn Chorus' walk looking for and listening to Gibside's birds and hopefully other elusive wildlife.  The walk starts at 5.30 a.m. and a charge of £6.00 includes refreshments.  Places are limited and booking is essential on 01207 541820.

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