The First Swifts Of The Year, Feeding Maggots To A Mallard And The Devastation Caused By Mink – Nature Watch 2019/11

I saw my first swifts of the year on May 8 in the area where I live (Staffordshire). We have a resident breeding population and it’s always great to see the first birds arrive every year. They’re the last migrants to hit the shores of the UK and also the first to depart as well.

On a fishing trip to the canal recently I noticed that a female mallard was down to just one young bird. Sadly, the mother now seems to have disappeared as well.

There are mink in the area and if you’re not aware, they are ruthless killers. I’ve seen them thirty feet up trees on the Teme valley in birds’ nests. Nothing escapes them and they will kill for the sake of it.

They’re not native to the UK, and as well as escapees, they have also been released by animal rights activists. They then go on killing sprees. Our water vole numbers have fallen sharply in recent years, with predation from mink a major cause.

Back to the canal though and I fed the sole survivor maggots, after which it exited the water and rested alongside where I fished.

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