Migration time is upon us and our spring bird survey season is getting underway. Willow warblers and chiffchaffs have been around for a little while now, swallows are becoming more frequently seen and wheatears have returned to the lawns here at Barbrook Cottage. I recorded my first redstarts of the year last week on Ramsley (and, excitingly, a passing firecrest!) and we’ve had reports of pied flycatcher back already in the woods at Froggatt. I’m still awaiting my first cuckoo of the year though – have you heard one over the Eastern Moors yet? Let us know in the comments section.
Ring ouzels are returning to the moors and we are hopeful that a pair which has been spotted around White Edge will remain and breed. If you are lucky enough to spot one (or hopefully two!) of these often shy birds while out on the Eastern Moors then please let us know so we can keep track of their progress. Also on the moors we have had golden plover passing through and curlew returning from the coast to their summer breeding grounds.
Curlew productivity and nest monitoring is the main focus of my work this spring. With the help of the rest of the Eastern Moors team and volunteers I will be trying to identify as many of our curlew territories as possible and monitor their progress throughout the breeding season. Curlew populations in the UK are of international importance and have significantly declined in recent years. The RSPB is undertaking research to help establish the factors involved and the extent to which the declines may be linked to moorland habitats and land management, and our work will help contribute to this.
Kim Leyland, Research Assistant, Eastern Moors Partnership