LesserSpot Network observers are actively monitoring 11 nests, all found at the egg stage. This is great news as it gives us the maximum information about when and where problems arise for the birds.
We anticipate that more nests will be found now that the adults are more visible as they gather food for the chicks. Watching how often the birds feed the young and what type of food items are brought, all crucial information to help our understanding of these enigmatic birds
If you find a nest, please get in touch and we will help you monitor its progress and, if appropriate and/or possible, visit with our nest viewing camera to gather information on the number of chicks.
The eleven LSW nests in the network so far five are in the New Forest, two in Surrey and one each in East Anglia, Gloucestershire, Nottinghamshire and Staffordshire. We have also had many reports of birds calling and drumming elsewhere in England, but observers have not been able to locate the nests yet.
A huge thank you to everyone who is helping.
The breeding season started early with the first eggs laid around mid-April. But the cold spell probably caused the birds to pause. Researchers in Whytam Woods in Oxfordshire certainly noticed that their BlueTits and GreatTits delayed the start of incubation due to the cold spell.
In East Anglia, observer, Mat, first saw the adults bringing food to the nest on 4th May. He and Ricky Cleverly have been observing the nest as often as they can to get the feeding visit rates and find out what food items the adults are bringing to the nest. These include Winter Moth caterpillars and sawfly and hoverfly larvae. The timing of the nest and the peak food availability are critical factors in nesting success.
On a visit to the New Forest on 13 May, Ken and Linda watched at three LesserSpot nests, each at a different stage. At one both adults were still incubating eggs, at the 2nd both adults were bringing food and brooding young between feeds, at the third both adults were bringing food, but the young were left alone between feeds.
There is still plenty of time to find a nest. At one nest in the New Forest last year the young did not fledge until 20th June.