Saturday, 9 May 2009

Pied Flycatchers...2nd May

This morning we did our first check of the Pied Flycatcher boxes in the Hodder Valley and at Barnacre. We have 35 boxes up at the Wild Boar Park in Bowland and 40 at Barnacre. Our first port of call was the Boar Park.

River Hodder

Semi-natural Woodland at the Boar Park

As we got out of the car we were greeted by the descending notes of Willow Warbler and the scratchy song of Garden Warbler. Out of 35 boxes we had 4 boxes occupied by Blue Tits, 4 by Pied Flycatchers, 5 by Great Tits, 2 Tit sp., single Coal Tit and the remainder were unoccupied. Blue, Great and Coal Tit females were incubating eggs and the following pictures show Blue and Great Tit females on eggs.

Great Tit nest

Pied Flycatcher nest

This was the first year for 3 years that we haven't had a Nuthatch in a box at the Boar Park, however later on when we were at Barnacre we had a box occupied by Nuthatch and below is a picture of the nest with an egg or two poking through the leaves.

Along the river we had a first for us for the site in the form of singing Sedge Warbler. It could well have been a migrant passing through, but it was singing from an area that looked suitable for a nest site. If it is still there next week we will know the answer. Shortly after hearing the Sedge Warbler singing we heard a Kingfisher calling and it landed on an overhanging branch and gave cracking views. The bird below is obviously a different bird!

Besides Garden Warblers we had at least two singing Blackcaps and are hopeful of finding the nest of one pair. Besides nests in the boxes we found a female Pied Wagtail on a nest in one of the animal sheds and a Chaffinch on a nest in the children's play area.

It was then on to Barnacre for more of the same.

The occupation rate here was a little lower than at the Boar Park, particularly for the Tits, probably as a result of two poor consecutive breeding seasons and a coldish winter this past year. Also notable by its absence was Wood Warbler as we always have a singing bird here. In fact in previous years we have found the nest and ringed the pulli.

We did have a Green Woodpecker calling which was nice and a flock of 25 Lesser Redpolls as well as Blackcap, Chiffchaff and Willow Warbler.

On the way back we called in at Moss House Farm to check some boxes that I put up a couple of years ago on mature trees in hedgerows in the hope of getting Tree Sparrow. Out of 10 boxes we had 2 Blue Tits, single Tree Sparrow and single Tit sp. Checking the boxes as we walked past a ploughed field we had three Wheatears and driving away we had a flock of 20 Whimbrel.

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