A MIXED PICTURE FOR THE BREEDING BIRDS OF DENMARK FARM
Guest blogpost written by Ian Morris
This year a total of 36 species of bird were detected during a series of surveys. This compares with 39 in 2016 and 45 in 2012. The overall total number of breeding pairs has also declined very slightly over each of the surveys.
The weather may have negatively impacted on some of the resident birds at Denmark Farm this spring. The prolonged and at times quite severe conditions this winter are possibly the cause of the slight reduction in the total number of birds present. Assuming next winter is milder, numbers should recover quickly. But it is not just bad weather in Ceredigion that has affected our bird community. Neither Swallows nor House Martins were present this year. Very bad weather on their migration caused many to arrive late and those that did were often in poor condition and unable to breed straight away. However, there is every reason to hope that all those species’ affected should recover in a year or two.
Denmark Farm is a beautiful but isolated jewel and what goes on outside its borders is largely beyond our control. Pied Flycatcher and Spotted Flycatcher are both in sharp decline nationally, probably due to factors in their wintering or migration areas. There were 16 pairs of Pied Flycatcher in 2012 but only 6 this year. Sadly, Spotted Flycatcher has now been absent for two consecutive years. Reed Bunting was also not present this year. In the past they have utilised wet, rushy fields neighbouring Denmark Farm, as well the reserve itself. These fields have now all but gone, victims of intensification, and there may not be sufficient habitat left to support Reed Buntings.
On the plus side, Willow Tits are still present. They have declined massively across the UK but a small population still exists in this part of Ceredigion. Their presence is testament to the richness of the habitat on site and is great news. Little Grebes have now been on the main lake for two consecutive years and this scarce breeder is an excellent addition to the Denmark Farm list. The recovery of Garden Warbler numbers and the discovery of a pair of Tree Pipits are also both very welcome.
Special thanks to Ian Morris for his ongoing work recording the birds at Denmark Farm.
If you love wildlife, do not forget to keep an eye on our events page for a full list of all courses and workshops coming up.
Finally, please remember that you can come and stay at Denmark Farm Conservation Centre to get fully immersed in the wonderful nature here. Choose from our self-catering Eco-Lodge, Eco-Campsite or Yurt. All profit from bookings is ploughed directly back into managing the nature reserve.