Newsflash: New Mallard Nest Tube Photos in the Gallery!!
We have just created a new Album in the Gallery on Mallard Nest Tubes
Newsflash:- April 23rd 2014
W.W.A. Secretary Stotty has been checking the W.W.A. tubes on a weekly basis since they were all maintained on the 22nd February. 144 eggs have been laid in the W.W.A. tubes in little over 2 months. We had cases where some nest tubes were so popular with the female mallard that 2 or more duck were laying eggs in the same tube. Because no female mallard can incubate 20+ eggs at once, we removed some surplus March eggs that were then incubated at home. 52 strong ducklings are causing chaos at Stotty's and Daves house at the moment. We haven't lost any incubating females from the off ground structures during the 26 day incubation period. Most of our nest tubes are now over water where no ground predators can get at them. Four 'in situ' hatches have taken place so far in the hen houses, with 2 more on the way. We've had an 89.6% hatch success so far producing 43 ducklings from 4 hen houses. We expect another 23 to hatch from the 2 tubes that are getting so close to hatch time. Nest tubes that have seen hatches this year have been repacked with fresh hay and the egg shells removed. After 3 years of studying this wetland there is one specific area that seems to be the 'hotspot'. We moved hen house 13 into the hotspot 3 weeks ago and now it too has a full clutch of 12 eggs in it. Another one now has the first signs of a nest bowl in it after being moved closer to this area. The three hen houses either side of HH13 contain 35 eggs respectively. We are trialling 4 hen houses on the other side of the estuary along a drainage dyke also. One of these now has an incubating mallard sat on 12 eggs. So far this nest remains intact which may proves that corvids are reluctant to enter these structures.
We now have about 40 nest tubes in operation in 7 different localities throughout South Cumbria and North Lancashire . Word is spreading about just how good they are through promotion in Sporting Gun, BASC's shooting & conservation magazines, our webpages, publicity from our Purdey Award Bronze win in 2012 and through our social networking sites such as Facebook. To our delight other clubs and individuals have now started putting their own hen houses out which is great news for the UK mallard population!! They don't call them mallard factories for nothing! Go and get involved in a nest tube project of your own. The rewards are immense!