Another Moth

Posted on - In Fleetwood Birder
Yesterday morning I checked a Barn Owl and Kestrel box at my good friends Robert and Diana's farm. In the Barn Owl box were two chicks about two days old, so there could be a couple more eggs to hatch. The female Kestrel was in residence at the box and she was sat, presumably incubating eggs or brooding small young, so we didn't disturb her. I'll be back in ten days or so to hopefully ring the Barn Owl and Kestrel chicks. Highly zoomed picture of the Kestrel in her boxThis morning as I was putting my ringing box away in my storage box in the garage I caught out of the corner of my eye what I thought was a Hornet resting on my tool bag! My first thought was "that's going to be interesting getting that beastie out of the garage"! Still thinking I was dealing with a Hornet I thought I would carefully lift my tool bag up, carry it outside,...
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Moths

Posted on - In Fleetwood Birder
After a full week of 4:00 a.m. alarm calls I was determined not to get up too early over weekend in order to recharge my batteries before the early alarm calls kick in again Monday morning!The potential Barn Owls that I mentioned in a previous post turned out to be Jackdaws! I checked the box that one of my farmer friends has in one of his buildings that he thought was occupied by Barn Owls, but when I peered into the box the beady eyes of large Jackdaw chicks peered back at me! Anyway, at least we know he doesn't have Barn Owls, well not in that box!I ran my garden moth trap on Friday and Saturday night and although I didn't get huge numbers I did catch a few interesting species. New for the garden were Setaceous Hebrew Character, Clouded-bordered Brindle and Figure of Eighty. My totals over the two nights of what I could identify, in addi...
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Trees

Posted on - In Fleetwood Birder
I love trees, and trees are featuring strongly in my work at the moment, because as you know I am carrying out a number of bird surveys across Cumbria in recently planted woodland. On my travels this week I noticed the shape and form of a few trees and you will see a few snaps below.On Wednesday I was at one of my larger sites northeast of Penrith where I have to survey ten woodland compartments. It sounds like a lot, but some of them are quite small. There was lots of trees, but I did have a few birds too. My list of noteworthy birds included eight Tree Sparrows (including one recently fledged juv.), seven Willow Warblers, two Stock Doves, a Curlew, two Blackcaps, two Buzzards and two Redstarts. Two trees stood out on my wanderings; an Oak tree and a Sycamore. I can't begin to guess how old the Sycamore is, but it's old, have a look a...
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The Quiet Peak Of The Breeding Season

Posted on - In Fleetwood Birder
For the past two days I have been in north Cumbria continuing with the second of three bird surveys that I do at several sites recently planted with woodland. Following standard Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) methodology I do a first visit in early April - mid-May and a second visit mid-May to June. In addition to this I do a third survey from July to August. The third survey is to look at the value of these sites as foraging areas after post-breeding dispersal. The second visit, particularly for those sites surveyed in June tends to be the quietest as birds are generally busy feeding young. However, there is always something to record.On Monday I was near Penrith and this site is isolated from other habitats in as much as it is set within fields of intensively managed grassland with no connecting corridors to other habitat; it's a walled lands...

More On Boxes

Posted on - In Fleetwood Birder
This morning Gail and I met Huw at our nest box scheme in the Hodder Valley in Bowland, to make our final visit of the year and ring the Pied Flycatcher chicks. Pied FlycatchersThe first Pied Flycatcher box I checked was empty. "Strange" I thought, because six days earlier my note book entry read "7 young; naked and blind". Which basically means that they were too young to ring. I estimated that they were about two days old last Sunday (27th May), and on average Pied Flycatchers are 16 days in the nest. This would give an estimated fledging date, giving a day or two, of 10th June. This would mean that if they had fledged it would have been at least eight days early. The weather has been good this week, but even so could they have fledged so quickly?The next box I checked should have had between eight and ten Blue Tit chicks, but it was...
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Quick Box Update

Posted on - In Fleetwood Birder
At weekend Gail and I checked our Pied Flycatcher boxes in Bowland. We were down to just 17 boxes to check taking account of empty boxes and those occupied by bees! Out of those seventeen we have:Blue Tit - 5 boxes occupiedNuthatch - 1 box occupiedGreat Tit - 6 boxes occupiedPied Flycatcher - 5 boxes occupiedWe managed to ring 39 chicks and these were 19 Blue Tits, 8 Nuthatches and 12 Great Tits. The Pied Flycatchers had mostly hatched or were in the process of hatching. The hatched broods had only hatched that day or the day before, and were therefore too small to ring, so hopefully they will all get ringed next week. NuthatchPostings this coming week are going to be infrequent as I've got a busy week ahead with surveys and a family wedding, but I'll try my best to post something!...
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Back To Brown

Posted on - In Fleetwood Birder
It was a return to the brownfield site in the south of my region for me this morning, and what a glorious morning it was as I headed south down the M6 at 5:00 a.m. The weather was equally glorious at my survey site with clear skies and a light northeasterly breeze.I was keen to find out what was happening with the Little Ringed Plovers (LRP). I got out of my car and stood in front of a mound to give some background to my outline, and scanned with my scope. It seemed quiet at first and I thought "had they gone", but then I picked up one, then a second and then a third, and a breathed a sigh of relief. Little Ringed PloverI decided to change position to get the sun behind me and have a proper systematic look across the site. As I headed round to the other side to stand in front of a hedge, again to give some background to my outline, I c...
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First Numbers Of Swifts

Posted on - In Fleetwood Birder
Certain species have been giving birders cause for concern this Spring with their lack of numbers and/or lateness of arrival, and Swift is one of them. Others include Swallow, House Martin, Sand Martin, Whitethroat and Reed Warbler. What the Hirundines and the Swift have in common is that they are aerial feeders and need flying insects during their migration back from Africa to sustain them.This morning I was doing the second of a Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) in north Lancs and I had a few Swifts, thirteen in fact. And this is by far my largest count this Spring.I also had a few House Martins, nine, and four Swallows. Just a single Whitethroat, one of the other missing species, and a single Chiffchaff took care of the Warblers. Best of the rst included a Great Spotted Woodpecker, a singing Song Thrush, four Mistle Thrushes, a Kestrel, four La...

Starting The Week Amongst The Trees

Posted on - In Fleetwood Birder
I was north Cumbria bound this morning, for one of my woodland bird surveys. I have three in this area and I always look forward to them because I enjoy the drive once I leave the M6, and more particularly the views across the Solway to Scotland!I had 6 oktas cloud cover with a light southeasterly wind when I set out to survey compartment one. Three Willow Warblers tried to out-sing each other and I missed a golden opportunity to get some great photos of probably a female. She was skulking around along a hedge and then she perched up out in the open on a strand of the wire fence. I pointed my camera, looked through the view finder and could see the male Lesser Redpoll I had photographed earlier! I had been reviewing my photos and left it on the same setting. By the time I had switched it over, it or she was gone. I think there's a lessen to...

Quick Nest Box Update

Posted on - In Fleetwood Birder
Gail and I made the second visit to our Pied Flycatcher boxes in Bowland and sadly no new birds had come in since last week. In fact even sadder was the loss of a pair at the egg stage. When I checked this particular box the clutch of seven eggs were cold, and last week they were warm. It is likely that something has happened to the female and the box has been abandoned. I will check it again next week, just in case though.We had the first of our clutches hatching today and there was a single brood of Nuthatches, three Great Tits and a single brood of Blue Tits that had hatched. All the Pied Flycatchers were on eggs, which is to be expected. Nuthatches Great TitsThe only other thing of note was a singing Redstart at the far end of the woodland. A pair used to nest in one of my boxes there, but no longer, so I'll definitely put a f...