Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Juvenile Kingfisher at WCP.

 A juvenile Kingfisher was a nice catch at Watermead CP this morning.
 Possibly a male as the crown, lower back and rump are predominantly blue or blue-green.
 However, some of the lower mandible is pale orange, although males can also have some pale orange at the base.

 Brown smudges on the breast feathers, another juvenile feature.
 Without these subtle features, viewed at distance, this bird would possibly pass as an adult male.
 Brown on the front of the tarsus and upper foot aged this as a 3. Just visible in this image.
 I love the white throat patch. The dark breast band shows up well in this image.
 As always with Kingfishers, prior to release they are very happy to pose for the camera!
The crown appears more green or green-blue in this photo, hence our caution with sexing.

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Common Tern Colour Ringing at Watermead CP.

 A total of 28 young Common Terns were rung at Watermead Country Park today. They received a metal ring on the right leg and a Lime Green colour ring on the left leg. The codes for 2015 run from U38 to U66. ( U46 broke). These individuals will hopefully return in the summer of 2017.
 All the juveniles were of a good size and seemed well fed.

 The 6 rafts all had young terns. One raft only had two chicks, but one raft on Meadow Pool had eight chicks.

 The remains of a small Roach was on one raft and this chick seemed keen to be fed. I am always interested in what the terns are being fed. Obviously local fish stocks are important to the success of the colony.
A massive Thank You to Dale and Charlie for helping us access the rafts this year.

Kestrels and Sand Martins.

It was good to ring a clutch of 3 Kestrels recently. All three looked fit and were obviously being well fed. A short tailed Field Vole had been left for their next feast.
Our first Sand Martin ringing was a success. A total of 35 birds were rung at Church farm , where the walls are busy this year. One returning adult female, D799649 was first caught last year on the 16th July when she had a brood patch. She is again breeding this year. Of the 35 birds 12 were juveniles.

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Nest box roundup

Like other places around the Country our nest box birds such as tits and Treesparrows have been having a hard time as well.
We have a minimum of 15 boxes for Treesparrows at our farmland site and this year the takeup has been down by more than 50%. Of the 15, only 6 have been Treesparrows, 2 with tits and the other 7 all with nests in them at various stages of completion, and have remained this way since the end of April. The first 3 broods hatched in the middle of May but saw losses of 3/5, 1/5, and 4/5, I would think this was during a cold, wet spell that we endured, but the remaining chicks fledged successfully. These nests now have 2nd clutches in them all with 5 eggs. In comparison, by the 8th of May last year 7 broods of 5 had successfully fledged. Lets hope as the weather improves so will the 'sparrow' activity.

Our 31 boxes in the woodland site have also seen a low take up this year and a few losses of chicks and eggs. We have 8 containing Blue Tits, out of the 67 eggs laid remarkably only 8 eggs didn't hatch, the largest brood was 12 with no losses and the smallest was 2 chicks from 4 eggs, all remaining chicks are so far still growing well with no further losses. The Great Tits haven't fared as well, with only 5 boxes used and 36 eggs laid, of these 22 have failed including a brood of 9 well grown chicks found dead and a clutch of 5 eggs abandoned. Both species seem to have laid a fewer number of eggs than expected this year.
When we resume our ringing at the feeding station in the Autmn/Winter period it should give us an idea as to how well the breeding season has been, locally, as we would expect to ring over 300 Blue/Great Tits.
Our Swallows seem to be doing a lot better, although late starting, some still on eggs but due to hatch in the nest few days and 2 broods already fledged.