Sunday, 8 May 2011

Nestbox checking and first Swift of the year- 8th May 2011

After a few hours of "retail therapy" at Meadowhall with my mum, wife and daughter this morning and with no sign of the forecast thunder storms I decided to have a couple of hours at Linacre this afternoon checking the nest boxes. I'm so glad I did, as I managed to find 34 active nests, including our first Pied Flycatcher nest of the year!!! As well as this I also noted the first Linacre Swift of 2011and a new brood of 6 Mallard ducklings.

As I said above, I found 34 active nests today. This is slightly lower than last time (see here) because I was on my own and I didn't have the ladders with me, so several boxes weren't checked. Despite this however, I'm really pleased, especially as one of the nests was that of a Pied Flycatcher. There were just 3 eggs present today, so obviously the female bird hasn't finished laying this clutch yet. We had 7 eggs last year, all of which, the birds managed to fledge!

Pied Flycatcher nest

All the other nests found today belonged to either Blue or Great Tit. They ranged from one brood that was just hatching and contained a mixture of naked, blind chicks and eggs to another in which the chicks were "in pin" which means their feathers are just coming through.

6 newly hatched young and 4 as-yet-to-hatch eggs
(most likely Blue Tits)

Great Tit chicks "in pin"

Sometimes when the nest boxes are opened the adult birds sit tight. In these cases I leave the bird on the nest and count the contents on the next visit. As I said last time, the welfare of the bird must come first whatever you're doing.

Blue Tit sitting on newly hatched chicks.

The "kestrel box" was checked, but the back had been removed or had fallen off and there weren't any eggs in the nest. No news on the "owl box" this time as it was too high to check without the ladders, but hopefully it'll get checked next week when the RSPB group do a full check. More news then!

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