Sunday, 11 May 2014

Nest box inspection part 2

The weather forecast for the weekend was wet and windy so we had already decided to call off any mist-netting a few days earlier. As it happens the rain stayed away but boy was it windy! We arranged to meet at the later time of 08:00 and start checking the nest boxes in the shelter of the woods. On the previous inspection there were quite a few female tits sitting on eggs so now two weeks later we expected to be ringing our first tit pulli. Blue Tit clutch sizes of 2 x 8, 2 x 11 and 2 x 12 were average with just one dead clutch of eight. Great Tit broods of 1 x 8, 3 x 10 and 1 x 11 were also typical although one clutch of 1 x 3 included five dead eggs. Seven more nests held young that were too small to ring and a further twelve nests were still in the incubation period. From a total of 57 tit boxes thirty-three have had nesting attempts made, a further six have been occupied by Bumble Bees and eighteen have been left unoccupied or have not advance from nest building. So overall things are looking slightly better than 2013 where we recorded twenty-seven occupied boxes and theres still time for the odd late attempt of replaced clutch by Great Tits. We checked on a brood of Tree Sparrows that were too small to ring on Monday and they were found to be ready. Although once again it doesn't look like they are quite ready to colonise Stanford just yet with just one nest found so far. The residents of our larger boxes are doing well with two more Tawny owlets ringed. This brings the total to three pulli this year so far and a vast improvement on 2013 when no nesting attempts were made in the whole of the resevoir area. Jackdaws are still in their incubation period and some adults were noted flying from boxes where we know there are eggs from the last inspection. It doesn't matter how quietly you approach a box occupied by Jackdaws, they always hear the russle of a jacket or snapping of a twig and vacate the box before the ladder touches the tree. So overall it looks like our nestbox species have got off to a pretty good start. All we need to do now is check the boxes on the other side of the reservoir and start looking for some more warbler and finch nests to boost the numbers for the nest recording scheme. Adam

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