2010 - PROOF the breeding season extends well into SEPTEMBER on the Slea shows that any row boats on the Slea during August (as is planned) would have serious consequences for the wildlife... The Dabchicks had 2 babies of which I believe only 1 survived, it was well into September when they HATCHED so any row boats on the Slea during August would have destroyed the nest/eggs and driven away the adults. The Slea is too narrow for boats and this kind of wildlife to coexist, the Slea is only a few feet wide in places especially near the reeds where the Dabchicks nest and breed.

In 12 years I have never

In 12 years I have never seen the Slea frozen…

…there are still patches of open water so I don’t think the Kingfisher will have too much problem, also saw 2 Dabchicks which weree asily seen because I didn’t have to look at the frozen parts.

I have been told

I have been told that their is at least 1 baby Dabchick has hatched, there may be more to come ? This just reinforces the fact that the people who want boats on the Slea during the school summer holidays are *completely* wrong when they say that the breeding season has finished by then. Boats would be a disaster for Dabchick nests and young.

Dabchick parent and young from a previous year on the Slea…

What a sad state

What a sad state the River Slea is in, this was my first trip down the Slea for a few weeks and the water was very low and weed everywhere, the only ‘saving grace’ is that it would be impossible for boats to use the Slea at the moment.

I heard a Dabchick but didn’t see one, there were quite a few ‘teenager’ and ‘baby’ Moorhens around so they have done quite well again. Still some ducklings around but there didn’t seem to be that many that had survived to nearly ‘adult-hood’. No Swans, no Coots in fact nothing else really, even the fairly reliable Common Lizards didn’t make an appearance on such a sunny day – I would have put money on them basking in it.

Bad and Good…

The Bad first, there is a duck on the Slea with one wing almost hanging off, the most likely cause of this is a dog that was not under control. This duck will never fly again and will also probably die soon because it will not be able to get away if another dog attacks it 🙁

Another Bad is that the nest I mentioned a few days ago is not there now so it has been predated, whether this is by humans, dogs, cats or more natural forces is unclear. The Good is that I saw a single duckling near the Hub, I am not sure if its mum was nearby or not ? and there was a family of 10 ducklings further downstream. This cannot be from the nest I mentioned as there were only a few eggs in that one and ducks tend to lay an egg every other day and then they are all incubated starting at the same time (so they all hatch within a few hours of each other) which takes another 20-25 days.

Bison and snow on the Slea

Bison and snow on the Slea… not really, I have been away to Yellowstone and as you can see the conditions can be HARSH, we had it ‘warm’ as I think it only got to about -15C during the day, the week before it was colder than -30C…

I saw the first…

I saw the first Ducks nest today with eggs in it. Sadly I don’t think it will survive as its far too easy for dogs and humans to come across 🙁 Also saw The (a) Coot but no Dabchicks, Swans or Kingfisher.

I think

I think I saw 2 Dabchicks today but I didn’t see them in the same ‘pass’ so I can’t be sure, but I am 95% sure as one seems to have a lighter neck than the other 🙂

No Swans (I have not seen them for a while), no Coot and no Kingfisher either, so not a very good day in that way today.

Unusual…

Unusual behaviour today from a couple of Grey Wagtails…

Grey Wagtail


in that they were fighting and I honestly thought one would end up killing the other. They were fighting hard and pinning each other onto the ground extremely viciously. One eventually flew away and the other one chased after it. Another Grey Wagtail was very nearby so I assume that one was a female and the other two fighting were males hoping to mate with her.

Also saw 2 Dabchicks (apart not together) and the Coot but no Swans, oh also saw the Kingfisher twice 🙂