Thundery showers lurked but a bit of ringing was possible and 23 birds were ringed. This time young Whitethroats were more obvious and seven were ringed plus three more Blackcaps, three Chiffchaffs and two Reed Warblers.
Much better conditions to start with although the heat brought an early finish to proceedings. Twenty-six birds were ringed. This included the first Reed Warbler of the year plus nine Blackcaps and four Whitethroats. A Green Woodpecker was a new species to be caught in the heligoland.
If we get a movement of a Goldfinch it is often to France but the latest report is of a bird of the year ringed here on October 23rd 2015 and caught by a ringer in Cambridgeshire on May 30th this year.
There was a contrast in the weather forecasts with the web saying dry and breezy and the tv saying heavy showers. Neither was near and there was about an hours fine drizzle, they were correct about the strength of the wind and this ended today’s session early. A Blue Tit provided some interest as when first caught, on Wednesday, it was in full juvenile plumage but now it has already started its post-juvenile moult.
We have returned to limited, socially distanced, outdoors ringing. As usual at this time of year it is fairly quiet but at least the first juveniles are appearing. This includes Blue and Great Tits, Robins, Blackcaps and Chiffchaffs.
An afternoon check of the House Martins showed that the juveniles are progressing quickly and three more nest boxes have been occupied so we are edging back up to the usual number.
More checking of nest boxes today and what a mixed bag. There are already fledged Blue Tits out and about but still one or two birds sitting on eggs. Sparrows seem to have settled down and remaining and second broods are doing well at present. Down the road only about 60% of the House Martin nest boxes are occupied, the first time in several years there has been a drop in occupancy – the severe storms in southern Europe earlier on seem to have had a big affect. However the broods which are going seem to be healthy.
The mystery of dead House Sparrow chicks continues, yesterday there were four in the back garden and today two in the front garden. They are not being predated – no self-respecting Magpie would pull them out of a nest and just throw them to the ground, particularly when they are feeding their own young. The chicks do not appear thin and have not been bloodied. It looks as if the damage is being done by their own kind. I would be very interested in hearing from anyone who knows of an explanation.
Where possible monitoring of nest boxes has continued and it would seem the continued drought is beginning to have an effect. Starlings started fledging two weeks ago and straight away there were males singing and displaying by both nests on my house. However now they are not continuing and the nests remain empty. Some House Sparrows fledged before this but broods that are ongoing now are not as successful. I know of three sites where young birds or, in one case, an egg were found dead below the nests and at least two nests which have failed. The smaller broods left in the nests seem to be fine. With the cool breeze and very dry conditions it is proving difficult for the sparrows to find enough insects to feed full broods of four or five.