One week into my new job. RSPB Wessex Stone-curlew Project Assistant. I was so excited when offered the job, so excited to get started on the job, and one week down I’m still excited.
From now until September I shall be cruising around the glorious Wiltshire countryside: searching for Stone-curlews; monitoring Stone-curlews; searching for their nests and calculating hatch dates; and helping to save eggs or chicks if they are in the way of farming practices.
One of the rarest breeding birds in England. So every single bird counts. Hilarious but cute cartoonish good looks, with their knobbly long yellow legs and enormous dazzling reptilianish goggle eyes.
Behaviourally comical also. Creeping along slowly so that we don’t spot them… They don’t know about scopes… And sticking their bums way up high in the air when courting, for all the world to see that lovely cream tum.
In my fist week I’ve seen quite a few (you have to know where to look), I’ve seen eggs in what is definitely not classed as a nest by any other bird! And the ultimate privilege – I saw a pair court and copulate. Yes, I am a nerd.
Today I also helped in the locating of Lapwing nests, and marking the area so that the very helpful and friendly farm man can avoid them whilst cultivating the field tomorrow.
Lapwing are another, amongst many, declining bird. Seeing where and how these birds nest, all over ploughed farmland yet to be cultivated, really brings their plight into perspective. Farmland birds evolved to nest on farmland. Tractors are too fast and big and mean. The discovery of petroleum has a lot to answer for.
Back to happier stuff. This last week, I’ve also seen Red kite, Kestrel, Sparrow hawk, Grey partridge, Great bustard, Linnet, Corn 🌽 bunting, Yellow hammer, Skylark, Meadow pipit, Grey wagtail, Wheatear, and the Swallows are back in town too ! Hare everywhere, the odd deer, and Brimstone and Tortoiseshell butterflies.
Please note that disturbing nesting birds is a criminal offence. I am licensed to ‘help’ these birds.
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