Monday, 25 May 2015

The Latest From The Boxes

I do apologise for a lack of posts of late but work is getting in the way of birding at the moment. Perhaps I shouldn't grumble as I do manage to scrape a living out of the natural world, but it is usually the case that when the weather is good to get out on the patch it's also good to carry out some of the surveys that earn me a living! Saturday morning was a beautiful morning and normally I would be out on the patch but instead I was doing a breeding bird survey in the north Lakes, but I have to admit the views of Blencathra and other mountains in the north Lakes were stunning and partly made up for not being able to get out on the patch!

This morning Kim and I made our second visit to the Pied Flycatcher boxes. Brief results of which are below:

Blue Tit - five boxes with incubating females, one box with six warm eggs and one box with six small young still naked & blind.

Nuthatch - one box with four young still naked & blind. Interestingly this box held seven small young last  weekend, so three birds have perished during the week!

Pied Flycatcher - seven boxes with females on eggs. We lifted three females off the nest and two were un-ringed, so we ringed these, and one was a female that we lifted off the nest and ringed in 2009! We have lifted her off the nest in every subsequent year except 2014. This bird is at least seven years old and just think what mileage she has clocked up flying to Africa and back every year! One box had seven young in, but they were too small to ring as they were still naked and blind.

 Does she look seven?

Pied Flycatcher nest

Great Tit - one box had a female incubating eggs and the remaining five boxes had small young in, with very small brood sizes. The only brood we ringed was a brood of two, so early signs are showing that these birds are struggling to find food this year with all the poor weather.

At the Tree Sparrow boxes we ringed a brood of three and a brood of one, and the remaining four boxes had either warm eggs or too small young. One Tree Sparrow box with a Tree Sparrow nest in it contained an incubating female Blue Tit! There were also two boxes with Great Tits in and these were too small to ring.

The weather this coming week is going to be crucial and it will be interesting to see how they have all got on when we check the boxes again next weekend.

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