Today, Jim and I, assisted by Graham and Ian of Attenborough Nature Reserve, spent a long, hard day checking the heron and cormorant nests at Attenborough. All the 33 heron and 17 cormorant nests were checked, and the surrounding vegetation cleared to improve access. The latter should pay dividends later in the season by speeding up our checks.
Checks of the heron nests resulted in four of last year's colour rings being recovered from chicks that failed to fledge; that's six overall now. Out of 27 heron chicks colour-ringed last year, that's not too bad I guess. It looked like the gales had taken their toll on the heron nests, as eight were showing signs of collapse or had disappeared completely. Checks of the cormorant nests revealed only 1 un-ringed dead chick. 15 were colour ringed last year. Of the 17 numbered nests, four had disappeared completely.
So where are all the colour-ringed herons and cormorants? Please keep an eye out and report any sightings as these provide us with the most important data.
With the winter being mild so far, we half expected to find herons on eggs, but no new nesting activity was witnessed during today's checks.