These are the results of a bird survey carried out by Danny Wallace and Ron Morris on 7th June 2011;
MALLARD ducklings increased to 16 (13). In the case of the brood of 8 these ducklings are getting quite large and seem more likely to survive than has been the previous experience. This brood are often seen patrolling the NE corner of the loch near the boat pier and regularly feed on human offerings along with the domesticated geese and possibly benefit from protection in numbers there together with the distraction of food being provided. The brood in the NW corner has fared less well. The 6 ducklings are days old. Two days prior to this survey they numbered 9 and fishermen reported attempts by Crows to pick them off the water. The third brood on the south side number only 2. These appeared to be perhaps a week or so old.
GEESE. The four goslings appear to be under the protection of a social group of
3 white domestic geese, 3 semi-
goslings though it may be that a Greylag not the Canada was actually the mother. There has been recent evidence of very bizarre activity on that nest site about the time these goslings would have hatched. Earlier in the spring one of the domestic white geese was seen mating with one of the Greylag. We expect the goslings to remain for at least one year should they survive so we may yet get more clues as to their parentage.
MOORHEN. No sign of young, which is surprising considering chicks have been seen in a nest since the last survey. The cause of this loss is unknown.
COOTS. The location of nests on the west end of the loch appears to be almost unchanged but there are quite a few nests missing on the east side. Many nests were empty but recently used. Previously there were several Coot nests containing eggs yet only one juvenile is now evident on the loch and appeared to be several weeks old. During this latest survey, two Carrion Crow were present at the west end and appeared to be targeting Coot eggs and took advantage of the parent being off the nest owing to the presence of the surveyor. On this occasion the Crow was unsuccessful. This is same area recently identified by fishermen as where crow attempted to predate Mallard young on the water. The one remaining nest in the SE corner of the loch is occupied by a Coot presumably
Eggs in coot nest
incubating eggs. A recently predated egg was lying on the shore nearby. It may be worthy of note that a Coot has recently been seen by the author defending its nest from a Grey Heron. Fishermen have reported sightings of a Mink patrolling the south bank about 4 weeks ago. This seems to indicate some possible predation by predators but it is clear that the severe storm has also had a significant impact particularly at the eastern side of the loch.
GREAT CRESTED GREBE. One pair was present at the NW corner building a nest. The nest on the south shore also seems to be active or recently abandoned, though no eggs were present on either nest. Last year a pair made one nest and successfully bred there. This site was first choice this year also but was abandoned for a new site, then to another, then a fourth and now possibly a fifth. This distressed behaviour could suggest the presence of a predator. Mink are known to target Grebe and this remains a possible cause. There is plenty of time though for a successful breeding.
LITTLE GREBE. Surprisingly no sign whatever of birds or nests though several empty nests are possibilities.
TUFTED DUCK. Two pairs present. One pair bred successfully last year and this remains a possibility this year.
SWAN. The nest on the raft appears to have been abandoned and there is no sign of the egg seen previously. The Swan does appear to use the raft still as a roost and the nest had been maintained despite most of the straw having filtered through into the loch.
PREDATORS. No sign of the Mink at all on the day, despite a search for droppings
along all accessible banks. Potential predators present included two Carrion Crows
at the northwest corner, Herring Gulls and Lesser Black-
WEED. There is a considerable amount of weed at the south and west fringes at present with nest on top of the plants. This would have some impact on weed cutting operations.
BARLEY STRAW. The remaining bail of straw is now in the water with the binding intact. It is located near the north shore a short distance west of the gate to the Carp Fishers area.
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