Ian did it again today by finding some more Kestrels; this time they were using an old Crow's nest in some woodland. Ian and I went to the site this morning with my double ladders. The ladders were extended to their full extent and Ian then had to climb off the ladders and up to the nest. I told him that he was mad, but also that I was glad that he was mad as it was enabling us to ring some good birds!
In the nest were three Kestrel chicks at a similar stage of development as yesterdays. All three were ringed and safely placed back in the nest. The adults gave Ian a bit of stick, but that's only to be expected.
Above and below: Ian climbing up and off the ladder
Ian ringing a Kestrel chick
One for the rogue's gallery!
Afterwards we called at a local site to look at some Bee Orchids and we found plenty. I took Gail back later to have a look as well.
I met Ian at his house this afternoon to go and find two Ringed Plover chicks that Ian had located yesterday at Rossall. As we walked along the front to the spot where Ian had seen them yesterday, he mentioned the possibility of some Kestrels at the 'obs', but we didn't know what stage they were at or even if the box was accessible.
We found the Ringed Plover adults doing their best distraction display to try and lure us away from their young. I say 'they', but it turned out that it was just one. Obviously, the other chick had perished since yesterday, and in fact it is highly likely that they started with a brood of four. We ringed the remaining chick and released it back onto the shingle and fairly quickly it was being brooded by the female.
Ten minutes later and we were putting a ladder up to the Kestrel box. Ian climbed up and reported that there were four chicks and all were a good size for ringing. They were feisty little buggers, but not as bad as Merlins! All four were duly ringed and placed back in the safety of their box.
Ian wrestling with, I mean ringing, one of the Kestrels!
We received the details from the BTO yesterday of a bunch of recoveries. Some of these we had been waiting for, but one or two were unexpected. The first map below shows the movements of some Lesser Redpolls that we controlled and the details are as follows:
L583607 - Moss House Farm, Out Rawcliffe - 27.3.11
Calf of Man Bird Observatory - 16.4.11
20 days - 130 km - 280 deg (W)
L743076 - Spurn Bird Observatory, East Yorkshire - 3.11.10
Rossall School - 10.4.11
158 days - 212 km - 279 deg (W)
R066772 - Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire - 22.3.11
Rossall School - 9.4.11
18 days - 290 km - 326 deg (NNW)
T667199 - Copeland Bird Observatory - 14.10.09
Rossall School - 9.4.11
542 days - 184 km - 119 deg (ESE)
Lesser Redpoll recoveries
We also received details of a Sedge Warbler that Phil and Will ringed at Moss House Farm on 11th July 2009 that was controlled in Treogat, Finistaire, France on 10th August 2009 some 673 km to the south. See map below.
After clearing the net rides at the Nature Park last week it was good to get the opportunity to do some ringing there this morning. To ease our selves in gently Ian, Nikki and I met at 4.30 a.m. and put three nets up in the willow scrub.
Whilst setting up before doing the first net round a number of Starlings were exiting their reedbed roost and we estimated that 2,000 climbed up into the sky and headed off for the day's feeding areas. A 'Gropper' reeled as we had our first cup of coffee and Sedge and Reed Warblers sang from the reeds supported by an ensemble of Reed Bunting, Skylark and Whitethroat.
Sedge and Reed Warbler
We processed 19 new birds as follows with recaptures in brackets:
Both the Reed and Sedge Warbler recaptures were from 2010 and the Reed Bunting from 2009. It was interesting to note that we didn't catch any juveniles even though a number of people are suggesting that it has been an early breeding season this year, so it will be interesting to see what happens over the next few weeks.
About a dozen Swifts and half a dozen Swallows fed over the pools and a couple of Stock Doves 'to'd and fro'd' from their nest site, and that was about it for the morning.
Yesterday the forecast looked as though tomorrow (Sunday) was going to be a write off but now it is looking okay. In fact if we had cleared the net rides at Rossall we could probably have got out ringing tomorrow, so that's a job to definitely do one evening in the week. As there's a tide in the morning I might just have a look on the sea.
This morning Nikki and I made what we thought would be our last visit to check our boxes in the Hodder Valley. The aim of the morning was to ring the four broods of Pied Flycatchers that were left and a couple of broods of Blue Tits. Amazingly the Blue Tits that were a little too small last week were now too big and had obviously developed very well with the better weather we have had this week.
We managed to ring three broods of Pied Flycatchers; an 8, 6 and a 5, totalling 19. There was another brood of 8 that had only recently hatched that were too small, so I will call in the week when I am working out that way.
Nikki ringing a Pied Flycatcher chick
Pied Flycatcher nest
This afternoon Gail and I went to the Nature Park to trim three net rides in preparation for some ringing there - hopefully! I had hoped that we might have got there tomorrow, but the forecast (wind strength) is a bit marginal when you are meeting on site at 4.00 a.m.! If it's a late start, as in the autumn and winter, you can just get up and make a decision in the morning, but when it's a 3.15 a.m. alarm call it's a different story altogether!
One of the cleared net rides
I carried out a butterfly survey on a lowland common yesterday afternoon and could you believe it that I didn't record a single butterfly when it was 24 degrees with 100% sunshine! I did try and photograph a Kestrel as I walked round and I have included a few shots below.
In case you haven't noticed I have posted the latest Fylde Ringing Group ringing totals in the side bar.