Saturday, 7 April 2012

Linacre - WeBS Walk and Nestbox Season begins

Wow, what a morning! As well as carrying out the WeBS walk, we (myself and 4 other members of the Chesterfield RSPB Group) carried out the first check of the nest boxes and found nests of both Song and Mistle Thrushes.

First up the nestboxes. Out of the 86 nestboxes that we have up, a total of 26 were found to have nests, or the beginnings of nests in them. Hopefully as the season continues we might get a few more nests and those that have already been started with be successful. Unfortunately, the 3 "Owl Boxes" haven't been occupied by owls this year, with 1 empty and the other 2 complete with Grey Squirrel dreys!

Owl Box with Grey Squirrel

One of the "tit boxes" ready for eggs!

As well as nests in the boxes I also popped down to see if there was anything happening at the Mistle Thrush nest that I found earlier in the year (see here). Luckily the birds had decided to use it and I spotted a bird sitting tight.

Walking back to the car park I spotted a Song Thrush with a beakful of dried grass. I watched it back into a bush and spotted its nest. The nest wasn't lined yet and there weren't any eggs in, so I'll pop back later in the week to check how its going and fill in Nest Record cards for the BTO's Nest Record Scheme.

Song Thrush nest

Last,but not least, we carried out the April WeBS count. As always, this month can be quite quiet for the waterbirds with the winter visitors having departed and the resident birds off nesting. As a result counts were pretty low with the following counted: Mallard (9), Coot (9), Moorhen (2), Tufted Duck (12), Grey Wagtail (2), Canada Goose (4) and Great-crested Grebe (2). Unfortunately, over the last 2 weeks the water levels on the middle reservoir have been dropped to carry out some maintenance work, and as a consequence, the Great-crested Grebe nest is now over 1m above the water level and appears to have failed! Hopefully they'll try again later in the season.

Chiffchaffs were heard (4), but no other summer migrants were reported today. A Blackcap, however, was heard yesterday and 1 Swallow and 2 House Martins were also reported on the Sheffield Bird Study Group website, as being over the top reservoirs. The first records for all three species.

My Year List has increased by 1 species:
115 - Blackcap

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