Wind and rain put pay to any ideas of ringing again this weekend, so I popped down to Linacre yesterday for a last walk around. As I was walking around I began thinking about the year's records and so here goes with a short write up.
Over the course of the year I've managed just 25 visits to Linacre, compared to 43 in 2011. This was inevitable, due to my interest and desire to go out ringing. Having said this, between me, several members of the Chesterfield RSPB Group, and records from the Sheffield Bird Study Group and Sorby Breck Ringing Group, we've still recorded a total of 79 species, including 5 new ones (Little Owl, Gadwall, Red Kite, Red-legged Partridge and Meadow Pipit).
The breeding season got off to a good start with the first nests found in boxes on 16th April. Only two species used the boxes this year, Blue and Great Tit, and they successfully fledged a total of 101 and 46 young respectively. Unfortunately there weren't any records of Pied Flycatcher at all this year. The "owl and Kestrel boxes" weren't used by owls or Kestrels this year. Next year perhaps? Other interesting breeding records included my first ever Song Thrush nest, which unfortunately was predated, my first confirmed breeding of Mistle Thrush, 3 large young being fed on 22nd April and confirmed breeding for Carrion Crow and Treecreeper. I also managed to find my first ever Robin nest, which went on to fledge 5 chicks.
Out on the water the breeding season was a somewhat mixed affair. Confirmed breeding came from Mallard (first brood on 1/5), Mandarin Duck (2 broods), Canada Goose (2 goslings), Great-crested Grebe (1 brood of 3 juveniles), Little Grebe (1 brood of 2 juveniles), Grey Wagtail (2 juveniles), Coot (2 juveniles) and Moorhen (3 juveniles), but numbers were quite low and few of the young were seen often, suggesting low levels of overall productivity. There were several records of Kingfisher this year, which included a bird seen flying down the bottom reservoir carrying a fish in August, which seemed to hint at breeding further down the valley.
The monthly WeBSs walks continued every month, and again, were carried out by me or, more often, by members of the Chesterfield RSPB Group. Over the year, numbers of wildfowl were average, however, we did record our highest ever count of Cormorant, 5 in December, and a good count of 17 Goosander in January.
Ringing began at Linacre this year.The first birds ringed were the 5 Robin pulli on 13th May and the Blue and Great Tit pulli from the boxes. A feeding station was set up by the Rangers' hut in May and between June and December, we managed 7 visits to mist net birds, which resulted in a total of 20 species being ringed (Blue, Great, Coal, Willow and Long-tailed Tit, Wren, Robin, Meadow Pipit, Dunnock, Blackbird, Song Thrush, Garden Warbler, Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Goldcrest, Nuthatch, Jay, Chaffinch, Goldfinch and Bullfinch).
All of the above activities will continue in 2013, so many thanks to everyone who has either taken part or read about them on these pages. Have a great New Year and see you all next year.