Hertfordshire News, Comment and Bulletin articles
Red-legged Partridges in Hertfordshire
Tree Sparrow Initiative - Update
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Red-legged Partridges in Hertfordshire.
The response to our appeal for information about Red-legged Partridges Alectoris rufa in March 2000 was most encouraging, and we are grateful to all observers who kindly sent us records. The evidence gathered to date is indeed suggestive of a decline in this species. During September and October we searched our three principal study areas around Tring, west of Digswell, and east of Hertford and Watton-at-Stone. Although the number of coveys found is only slightly less than last year, the average covey size away from known release sites is lower.
However, more information is needed before we can determine whether this is significant or not. Please continue to send us records of all coveys seen. For each observation the information we need is Date and Time, Covey Size, Activity i.e. resting or feeding, Location, preferably with a six figure grid reference, and Habitat, i.e. newly ploughed arable, autumn sown cereals, grassland, Woodland Path etc.
Tom and Janet Gladwin. 99 Warren Way, Digswell, Nr Welwyn, Herts. AL6 0DL
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Tree Sparrow Initiative - update
First the good news
The increase in number of nest boxes for the 1999 breeding season at Coursers Road has paid dividends. From a total of 20 boxes at this site, 14 were used by Tree Sparrows. Ten boxes appeared to have been used for at least two broods with a total of 42 young ringed. Four other boxes had partial nests or were unsuccessful with two broods being found dead in the nest just prior to fledging. Subsequent results indicate that the resident flock at Coursers Road is in the region of 80 birds, an increase on recent high counts.
It is possible that there may have been further nests as Tree Sparrows regularly have three broods in a year, but observations had to stop in late July due to other commitments. We are intending to analyse the nest record cards to see if third broods were starting at this time.
And now for the bad news
Unfortunately, due to other commitments, we are unable to give the same degree of time to this project in 2001. We would like to increase the number of members contributing time to the Tree Sparrows and are looking for volunteers in the St Albans area who will be able to regularly stock the feeders and monitor the nest boxes. If we can get a small group together who can share the tasks it will mean no one should be over-stretched to keep this going. We can show everyone what is involved on a morning visit, including filling the feeders and how we record the data on BTO nest record cards. We hope that we will still be able to ring pulli and make the occasional visit to catch fully-grown birds when we can.
Please contact Gary on 020 8428 3964 or email on firstname.lastname@example.org if you can help. We feel it is vitally important for this species to keep the project going and is an opportunity for members to make a real contribution.
Gary Elton and Jack Fearnside
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