Thursday, 9 February 2012

The nestboxes are up!

Good news! The nestboxes made by the Airedale Otters at the January meeting are up and ready for homeowners wanting to start a family!

Two of the Airedale Otter nestboxes in Deep Cliff Wood

Airedale Otters leaders Cam, Andy, and Alison, with help from Shaun of Bradford Ornithological Group, braved the winter weather and got the nestboxes up in time for the breeding season (and National Nestbox Week 14th-21st February).

Unfortunately, our event on Sunday 5th February was cancelled, because of the likelihood of bad weather - but the nestboxes needed to go up as soon as possible. Resident birds, such Blue Tits and Great Tits, like to find nest sites early – before the summer visitors like Pied Flycatchers and Redstarts arrive from Africa. So it was important to boxes up in February. The good news is Blue Tits were inspecting a couple of the first nestboxes to go up, even before we’d finished putting up the others!

Getting the nestboxes ready for intallation

The nestboxes are in Deep Cliff Wood, Harden – great habitat for local birds, and (we hope) perfect for Pied Flycatchers. There are 14 boxes in total, so there should be plenty of spare boxes when the Pied Flycatchers arrive in spring. We’ll be keeping a close eye on them throughout the breeding season, and keep you informed of any developments. Of course, we will arrange for the children to visit the woods as soon as we can to see the boxes in place – hopefully at one of our next meetings in March or April.

The nestboxes are numbered registered the name of its builder, so each Airedale Otter will know if their box is used and if any chicks are raised! Once the first breeding season is over, we will come back to the woods as a group to open up the boxes and see what types of nests are inside.

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Sunday 5th February - Event CANCELLED due to weather

As you may have noticed, the weather forecast for this coming weekend is still uncertain but there does appear to be a strong chance that we will see some snow and very low temperatures. As ever, safety considerations are paramount and we have regrettably decided that we will have to cancel this Sunday's event because, quite apart from the fact that it will be cold, the woodland is likely to be very slippery and unsafe for either young children or their parents. We are very sorry about this but the last thing we want is for someone to be injured.

It had been hoped that an alternative date could be found this month but, due to other commitments of the leaders, this will not be possible. However, we do need to get the nest boxes put up very soon otherwise we may find that birds such as Blue Tit and Great Tit will already have found suitable nest sites elsewhere. Although Pied Flycatchers won't be too worried about the timing of the boxes being put up while they are still in Africa, we do want to help other species as well. The Airedale Otters leaders will, therefore, press ahead with putting the boxes up and then arrange for the children to visit the woods as soon as we can after that to see them in place - that is likely to be our next event on Sunday 11th March or the April migration event.

Once again, we are sorry to disappoint our members but hope you understand why this is necessary. The important thing is that our Airedale Otters members made the boxes and will be able to have them put into action this year. We will post details and photos on the blog as soon as the boxes are in place.

Airedale Otters Leaders