Many times I’ve picked up and read Richard Castell’s article on ‘how to find Grasshopper Warbler nests’ (Nest Record News 26) and always marvelled at finding my own nest one day! I came very close to finding one in 2008, when I found a bird nest building – however for some unknown reason the birds didn’t lay any eggs. It was 2009 when I got to see my first ‘Gropper’ nest, whilst out nest finding with Richard & Jim Hodson in Wakefield, Yorkshire. We put quite a bit of effort in to look for the nest and eventually were rewarded with a nest containing a clutch of 6 lilac coloured eggs!
After this mornings downpour I decided to head up to Shakerley for a walk around, to see whether I could muster up any pulli to ring. The first two nests I came across were both Whitethroats, one containing four, 1 day old chicks + a hatching egg (below). Whilst the other held a brood of 5 chicks that were just ripe for ringing.
Next up was a Lesser Whitethroats nest (a first for me), following the pair back to the nest as they went about, busily carrying nesting material, along with another two Common Whitethroat nests (5 chicks, 5 eggs).
As I was walking through a section of damp marshland, a warbler skulking in the undergrowth caught my eye. It became apparent, as I got my bins on the bird that it was a Grasshopper Warbler and it was carrying food! Would today be the day that I put to use all of Rich’s useful notes on how to find a Gropper nest!? As instructed I spent a good hour watching the bird going back and fourth in the general area, and I got rather excited as I saw one of the adult birds carrying away a faecal sac, so I knew I was onto something! After a good hours worth of observation, I headed down to try and locate the nest & before too long I stumbled upon these little beauties!!
A fantastic day with 5 Common Whitethroat nests found, 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 1 Robin, 1 Reed Bunting and 1 Grasshopper Warbler nest!
Thanks to Richard (one of the UK’s top nest finders/recorders!) for all his advice on how to find, what must be one of the hardest nests to locate!