No news of ringing today but this week will probably be a crunch week for judging how the local breeders using the nest boxes are doing. Judging by previous visits the tit chicks should be ready for ringing but who knows in this mixed up year. One species we will not be ringing for sometime is House Martin. We have groups of nine, seven and two nest but although a few birds showed up a while ago there are only four nests being visited regularly and even those are not there most of the day. Let us hope they do return and get at least one brood away.
Cold, drizzly and with an easterly breeze getting up- yuck! Gone are the days when these sort of conditions might have brought in items of interest or an arrival of Willow Warblers. Eight birds caught were all retraps and local breeders. The number of Whitethroats seems healthy.
More nest boxes checked today. It would seem that, unlike last year, Blue Tits have a good number of nests but Great Tits are down in number. Most birds are just hatching their young apart from one Great Tit where they will fledge in a week and one Blue Tit observed nest building.
A pleasant, calm, and fairly warm start to the day yielded seven new and seven retrap birds. Two of these were female Whitethroats, plus a female Blackcap, so it would seem the females are showing up at last. Even though the catches are small they keep providing things of interest. This time it was a male Redwing complete with cloacal protuberence (this follows on from the female with a brood patch we caught last year). There was also a female Bullfinch retrap of a bird ringed as a one year old in 2018.
A cool but bright and calm start seemed to encourage an increase in the number of sylvia warblers singing. Nine new birds including three each of Blackcap and Whitethroat reflected this. Only one of the new birds was a female. I do not think the rest are sitting on eggs yet, they are hopefully still to arrive. A Green Woodpecker ringed in 2014 was an interesting retrap.
The slight damp spell has arrived just in time for the Starlings, three broods of chunky chicks were ringed today. Elsewhere on the nest front some noisy young Rooks could be seen standing on the branches next to their nests and exercising their wings. There are finally a few House Martins visiting the nests on Sandown Road and hopefully we will get a bit of warmth and the rest will show up.
Advantage was taken of the shelter from the stiff breeze which is provided by The Elms to check all the nest boxes. Generally it is going to be a poor season, it would appear the constant cold wind has knocked the Tits back. Half of the nest boxes were occupied and most of these were still in the process of laying a full clutch. We were able to ring one healthy brood of Stock Doves.
The importance of the kind contributions from supporters towards the cost of woodcrete nest boxes was clearly demonstrated. A couple of years ago some boxes had reinforced wooden fronts put on and the woodpeckers have now demolished some of these. Last year we added metal nest box hole guards to other boxes and the woodpecker has changed tactic and now drills in through the roof! If a woodpecker can get through the woodcrete ones I am not sure I would want to come up against it!
We managed to get a couple of hours in before the forecast increase in wind arrived. Nine birds were caught including three Willow Warblers, two Chaffinches, and single Blackcap, Blackbird, and House Sparrow. Most birds were in breeding condition showing brood patches or cloacal protuberences. Two of the Willow warblers were not ready yet and one of these still had a reasonable amount of fat.