Monday, May 26, 2008

The nestbox update.

This time of year is always busy and one is always playing catch-up as a consequence. So, here is a catch-up moment.
In the last two weeks I have 'lost' four clutches/young from four Great Tit nests- two due to squirrels and two due to desertion /loss of adult; and one clutch of Pied Flycatcher when the nest was 'scragged' by some predator that couldn't gain full access to obtain breakfast. In the picture you can see the whole nest has been destroyed and the eggs spilled on to the bottom of the box.
One of the undetermined tit nests has been identified as being due to Coal Tit, and she is now sat incubating on a clutch of eight eggs. The Song Thrush eggs have hatched but the four eggs laid have only given rise to three young (big enough to ring now). When handling them they were hot little furnaces of skin and bone and were peculiar to touch - all soft and wobbly.
I've also 'lost' a Redstart nest, not due to some predator or other, but simply because its turned out to be a nest of Pied Flycatcher with a feather lining. It was the feather-lining that was the red-herring in this case (usually, but obviously not always, feather use is more indicative of Redstarts).
The Nuthatches have also hatched. They were to small to ring this weekend but they should have grown enough by next week end to be ready. Taking a photograph of them was difficult as they wouldn't keep still - as you can see (and no the ones on the bottom and left aren't dead they're just not as hungry as the other two).
Nesting totals today are: 25 Great Tit, nine Blue Tit, three Redstart, one each of Nuthatch and Coal Tit, and 29 Pied Flycatcher.
Ringing has started and some Great Tit and Blue Tit pulli have been big enough to take rings. The rest should be well on their way by this coming weekend to, maybe, be ready for ringing. The Redstarts and Pied Flys will be another 10-12 days or so because they have only recently just started seriously incubating. However, 17 female Pied Flys have been lifted off eggs - seven as new birds (and then rung) and ten as returning individuals - although I have yet to check whether they are birds ringed here in previous years returning, or birds from other sites.
The buzzards appear to be nesting elsewhere - they are not using 'my' nest and the Ravens appear to have gone quiet, as have the Woodpeckers. So cuckoo heard this week, but did have a heron feeding at the ponds which was nice.

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