Bank holiday Monday provided a chance to get out to the reservoir to inspect our nestboxes so Ed and I agreed to meet at 08:00 to take on the task of checking over 150 boxes of varying sizes and shapes.
It was a bright and calm morning and under normal circumstances, mist-netting would have been on the agenda. However, the breeding season has well and truely got underway and we don't have many days to dedicate to checking them.
Ladders at the ready, pliers, rings and notebook in the pocket, it was off into the nearby wood where we have over 50 Tit boxes. This time last year we witnessed hatching in numerous boxes but this year is looking far different. Twenty-four boxes were occupied which is a fairly good percentage but all were still in the early egg stage with 90% of these still having eggs covered, this would indicate that egg laying is still in process for most birds.
Larger boxes are having a mixed success with Tawny Owls looking like failing again for the second consecutive year, Jackdaws have taken up residence in three boxes and Stock Doves have got off to a good start with two pulli already ringed in one box and three further boxes hosting pairs.
Like the Tits, our new Tree Sparrow colony has been slow to get started with just one adult incubating five eggs.
Open nests included Long-tailed Tit although this has already been predated. Lined nests for both Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff. Woodpigeon and Coot were also seen sitting on eggs.
It looks like I'll be making a few more inspections but I don't think I will be needing rings for at least another week or two.