Sunday, 2 June 2013


Gail and I checked our boxes in the Hodder Valley and from the original 39 the round is down to checking just 20 boxes. Out of the ten boxes occupied by Pied Flycatchers three were still on eggs, six had hatched and had small young, and one had a mix of eggs and hatching young. I lifted another female off the nest bearing a ring and when I checked on the computer I had ringed her as a chick in 2010 and in 2012 she had been lifted off the nest in a box as a breeding female. What's interesting is that because I ringed her as a chick I know exactly how old she is and exactly where she hatched, providing some very detailed and useful information.

Four boxes were occupied by Great Tits and all had young. I ringed a brood of four and five respectively, which is very small for Great Tit. The brood of five, were a brood of six last week and another brood of five that I ringed last week just had two birds left in the nest. The rest hadn't fledged as these birds flight feathers were only two thirds emerged, so unfortunately the other had probably died and been removed by the adults. Mid-week last week we had two days of very wet weather and the adults probably struggled to provision them with food.

 Great Tit

The five boxes occupied by Blue Tits were all full of chicks too small to ring, so next weekend is going to be the busy ringing weekend. The Nuthatch box was full of large fully grown chicks and I have to assume all eight were present and correct as they would have 'exploded' from the box if I had lifted the lid fully to count them. The Nuthatches always do well.

 Blue Tits

The woodland was full of flowering Bluebells, Ramsons and Lesser Stitchwort and of course all very late due to the cold weather this spring.

 Bluebells and Stitchworts

By the way did you hear about the phenomenal numbers of Spotted Flycatchers at Portland Bird Observatory yesterday? Between 800 and a 1,000 headed north over the obs! Have a look here for the details.

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