As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Saturday, 19 April 2014

Herons flock to Somerset Levels as nests hit record high


By Western Morning News | Posted: April 18, 2014

RSPB staff have been surprised at the volume of Herons nesting at Swell Woods on the RSPB reserve near Curry Rival in Somerset.

RSPB staff have been surprised at the volume of Herons nesting at Swell Woods on the RSPB reserve near Curry Rival in Somerset.

The catastrophic flooding of the Somerset Levels took its toll on the human population but herons are now thriving and have flocked to the new wetlands in record numbers.

The annual nest count at the RSPB reserve at Swell Woods, which is near Curry Rivel, east of Taunton, close to the flooded area, revealed a near 50% surge in numbers from 98 last year to 145 – the highest ever recorded.

Site manager Harry Paget-Wilkes said there were now almost 300 birds in an area measuring less than an acre with some oak trees containing as many as 10 separate nests.

“It is an impressive site and can be quite a racket especially in the mornings when they are their most active,” he added.

“There are also little egrets nesting which make an amazing gurgling noise.

“I was expecting a higher number as I live on the Levels and had noticed there seemed to be a lot more birds around.”

There are estimated to be around 12,000 pairs of the birds in the UK with about 1% of the population in the South West.




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