Friday, 20 May 2016

Boxes, Barn Owl, Bird Surveys And A One Legged Yellow Wagtail!

On Saturday Kim and I made the first check of our Pied Flycatcher boxes in the Hodder valley. We have 38 boxes at this particular site and this year so far the occupancy is as follows:

- Blue Tit - 7
- Great Tit - 6
- Empty - 13
- Nuthatch - 1
- Pied Flycatcher - 6
- Wasp nests - 2
- Started nests - 2 (Pied fly and Tit sp.)
- Fallen off tree - 1

The Blue Tits either had incubating females or incomplete clutches. The Great Tits were similar although there was one brood of nine that had just hatched, so they should be ready to ring next weekend, and it was the same for the Nuthatch. We lifted two female Pied Flycatchers off the nest; one was a new bird so we ringed her and the other was a recapture from 2014 when she was ringed as a chick. The remaining Pied Flycatchers were either complete or incomplete clutches.

We found two broods of Oystercatchers; one with three young and the second just hatching from a nest on a tin roof. Hopefully we will be able to ring these this weekend. There were also plenty of Siskins coming to the feeding station still, so we will have a short ringing session there as well next weekend; weather permitting! 

I've been back to north Cumbria this week doing a repeat bird survey for one of the sites I've been monitoring and I was pleased to see a Barn Owl hunting over my survey area. I didn't record anything out of the ordinary but I did record two Willow Warblers, two Chiffchaffstwo Blackcaps, Yellowhammer, three Stock Doves, Buzzard, Redstart, Whitethroat and a Garden Warbler.

 Cuckoo Flower

On my way home I called at one of my favourite spots and that's Shap Abbey. I like the combination of history and wildlife that you can find there on the River Lowther. However it was very quiet and all I had was Grey Wagtail on the river. Normally I would expect to see Spotted Flycatcher, Redstart etc., but not today!

 The River Lowther

Shap Abbey

Today I completed a recce of a site that I need to start surveying soon in Cheshire and it was here that I had a one legged Yellow Wagtail! I didn't know it only had one leg until I was looking at the 'record' shots (all my shots are record shots!) I took of it. In addition to the Yellow Wag I just had a few Tree Sparrows, Yellowhammers and Buzzards. I always enjoy watching Buzzards displaying and it was great watching one today doing that brilliant undulating display where they climb, shut their wings, dive and repeat the process several times!

 One legged Yellow Wagtail

It's going to rain tomorrow, but the forecast is good for Sunday, so it should be some box checking and mist netting for me.   

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