13th May 2010

Herons, Blue Tits and Coal Tits seen hatch live on Shropshire's very own nestcam and even Cygnets.

<p>Herons, Blue Tits and Coal Tits seen hatch live on Shropshire's very own nestcam and even Cygnets.</p>

The staff at the newly refurbished Boathouse Visitor Centre in Ellesmere were thrilled to see 5 Blue Tit chicks hatch yesterday in front of their very own eyes whilst watching the spectacular site via CCTV.

The ‘nestcams’ are proving to be a huge success with visitors to The Mere, local residents and the volunteers. The cameras are not only positioned at 2 of the 14 nest boxes on The Mere observing blue tits and coal tits but visitors can also see the baby heron chicks. 

Heritage Lottery funding through The Mere Heritage Restoration Project has enabled filming to take place 24 hours a day provided by powerful video cameras positioned on Moscow Island which send live close-up images of the Herons and other birds to screens inside the Boathouse Visitor Centre. Visitors can also use hand controls to zoom in and out onto the nests and baby chicks.

Commenting on the experience, Nicola Watkins of The Boathouse Visitor Centre said “It is a fantastic experience watching the baby chicks hatch, we had 8 Coal Tit chicks hatch on the 7th May and 5 Blue Tits hatch on the 12th May.  The herons remain close to our hearts because they have been on Moscow Island, on the Mere for over 40 years and return every year to take up their nest sites high in the trees, we are thrilled to have 3 heron chicks that are about 8 weeks old now”.

Heronwatch Volunteers are on hand inside the Visitor Centre most days in the spring and early summer to talk to visitors about these remarkable birds and explain behaviour such as ‘snap displays’ and ‘stretch’ displays, so pop down to the Centre for a sneaky peak of this unique experience.

For more information on the Heronwatch and other interesting things to see and do in North Shropshire, contact The Boathouse Visitor Centre on 01691 622981 or visit; www.northshropshire.co.uk

Also - news just in!

The cygnets at Whittington Castle (pictured), near Oswestry also started to hatch yesterday – so far there are 4! Sue Ellis, Castle Manager said “The swans Billie and Betty have cygnets each year and many visitors come to watch the family grow.  Often in the first few weeks the family move down to the river away from the castle to escape the "media" attention!  But they always come back and stay as a family until October.”

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