Sunday, 13 May 2018

Year List Update

As always the "year list" has continued to grow over the last week. Number 141, the Garden Warbler was added on Sunday 6th when I was lucky enough to find a singing male in the ringing site at Linacre. A very productive trip to the National Trust's Padley Gorge and nearby Barbrook Valley last Monday added numbers 142 - 146, whilst my first confirmed sighting of Swift came later in the week. The final bird, a stunning Short-eared Owl, was seen today.

Year List update:
141 – Garden Warbler
142 – Pied Flycatcher
143 – Redstart
144 – Cuckoo
145 – Whinchat
146 - Stonechat
147 - Swift
148 - Short-eared Owl

Saturday, 12 May 2018

Linacre Ringing - 7th May 2018

Last weekend I had a quick trip to Linacre to check on the progress of the "owl" boxes, following our successful trip there on 21st April (see here for details). The results were mixed, with a new species ringed and one deserted nest.

First the good news. The Tawny Owl that had been found in one of the boxes in April, had been successful and 2 downy chicks were found and ringed by me and other members of Sorby Breck Ringing Group. This constitutes the first breeding of this species in one of the "owl" boxes.

Tawny Owl chicks

Another female Mandarin Duck was also found in a second box, incubating eggs. She too was ringed.

Mandarin Duck

Unfortunately, the Stock Dove nest that was found in April had failed, with 2 broken eggs in the bottom of the box. We don't know what happened to the adult birds, but they may have been disturbed or killed by a predator, such as a Grey Squirrel.

Results from these nests will be forwarded to the BTO's Nest Record Scheme.

Friday, 11 May 2018

Starling Nest - an update

I first blogged about the Starling nest on the side of my house back in April (see post here). At the time there were just 3 eggs in the nest. Another 2 eggs were laid over the next few days, and incubation began on April 18th.

5 eggs

I left the nest alone for the next couple of weeks, until I started to see and hear more activity, indicating that the eggs had hatched. This year, this happened on 1st May, exactly 2 weeks after incubation began. 5 young birds hatched. Unfortunately 1 appeared to die quite quickly afterwards, leaving the parents with 4 hungry chicks to feed. 

The parents did a brilliant job, and just a week later 4 birds had grown enough to be ringed.

8th May 2018

I had a quick check again tonight to find some well feathered chicks getting ready to fledge over the next few days.

11th May 2018

The results of this nest will be reported to the BTO's Nestbox Challenge.

Saturday, 5 May 2018

RSPB Frampton Marsh - 16 Year Ticks!!

Today, Jayne, Luke and I went across to RSPB Frampton Marsh in Lincolnshire. We had a superb day in sunshine and 23 degree heat, and managed to see an amazing range of birds including 16 "year ticks" (and an additional one, Hobby, on the drive across). We saw several Linnets here as well, but my first of the year, was seen in Apperknowle on Thursday.

The birds seen are listed below, but the best bird of the day was, by far, the Corn Bunting. It was found by Jayne (thank you, thank you, thank you!!!), and was first in the UK since, well, I can't even remember, that's how long ago it was. The bird in question, was found sitting on a barbed wire fence by 360 Hide, and very kindly sat long enough to get a half decent picture.

Corn Bunting

Other highlights were a stunning male Garganey, 300+ Brent Geese, a day-flying Barn Owl, 2 Whimbrel, Greenshank, breeding plumaged Dunlin, Black-tailed Godwit, Ruff, lots of singing Whitethroats and last, but by no means least a "plastic fantastic" drake Wood Duck!!

Wood Duck

A few butterflies were also flying about, including  2 Peacocks and (new for the year) Speckled Wood and Large White.

Speckled Wood (courtesy of Luke)

Year List update:
123 – Linnet
124 – Reed Warbler
125 – Whitethroat
126 – Ruff
127 – Greenshank
128 – Black-tailed Godwit
129 – Brent Goose
130 – Avocet
131 – Dunlin
132 – Curlew Sandpiper
133 – Barn Owl
134 – Ringed Plover
135 – Little Ringed Plover
136 – Hobby
137 – Whimbrel
138 – Sedge Warbler
139 – Garganey
140 - Corn Bunting

Sunday, 29 April 2018

More Nests

As well as the nestboxes at Linacre I also monitor and record another 12 boxes at 2 other sites in North East Derbyshire. Both sites have 6 boxes, and the results from these boxes are also sent off to the BTO's Nest Record Scheme.

The first site, a farm in Coal Aston, where we also do some mist netting was checked on 23rd. Unfortunately, this site was very similar to Linacre, with just 3 of the 6 boxes in use. One box had a fully lined nest, with 2 eggs, whilst the other 2 boxes had the start of a nest (N1) and a slightly more advanced nest (N3) in it. I'll check them again next week, to see what, if anything, has developed.

The other site, a churchyard in Chesterfield, was checked yesterday, and, thankfully, had 4 active nests with eggs in them and another nest that had been built by a Nuthatch. This nest didn't have any eggs.... yet! If it does get used, it will be the first time one of these boxes has been used by this species here. Again, I'll give it a few weeks and then pop back to see what's happening.

Nuthatch nest

Tit nest

Thursday, 26 April 2018

Linacre Nestboxes 2018 - The First Visit

The Spring so far has been colder than normal and wet. As a result I wasn't expecting too much when I went to Linacre tonight for my first check of the nestboxes. Unfortunately, my initial thoughts were correct with just 14 boxes containing complete nests and the first few eggs (either Blue or Great Tits) There were, however, another 30 boxes containing the start of nests, so the final total my increase. All results will be sent off the BTO's Nest Record Scheme.

First nest and 2 eggs

Whilst walking around the reservoirs I also heard my first Linacre Willow Warbler of 2018, along with 1 singing Chiffchaff, 1 singing Blackcap, and a lovely flock of approximately 40 Swallows and 2 House Martins (also first 2018 Linacre record) feeding low over the top reservoir. A nice surprise was a "buzzing" Lesser Redpoll by the top reservoir, the first 2018 record.

Monday, 23 April 2018

Year List Update

I haven't updated the "year list" for a few weeks, so, after visiting the RSPB Bempton Cliffs reserve yesterday I thought I'd do a quick post to bring it up to date.

The first 2 species (numbers 114 - 116) were seen last week at Linacre. The next 2 species, House Martin and Blackcap, were seen on Thursday, the former over school, and the latter at Linacre. The two grouse species were seen yesterday in Langdon Beck, County Durham, whilst the last 3 species were also seen yesterday, this time at RSPB Bempton Cliffs.



Year List update:
114 – Common Sandpiper
115 – Swallow
116 – House Martin
117 – Blackcap
118 – Black Grouse
119 – Red Grouse
120 – Gannet
121 – Guillemot
122 – Razorbill