First up the ringing and nest recording. A four hour session with the nets resulted in just 17 birds ringed, but this total did include our first ringed Linacre Chiffchaff of the year and a ringing tick for me; a Woodpigeon! A very interesting bird and my first "F" ring.
Between net rounds we managed a bit of birdwatching and recorded the first records of Mute Swan (1 flew over) and Pied Wagtail (flew over), for Linacre this year.Other birds of note included a Sparrowhawk overhead, 3 Jays, 2 Canada Geese, yaffling Green Woodpecker and drumming Great-spotted Woodpecker. We also recorded our first butterflies of the year, Small Tortoiseshell, 3 feeding on the Coltsfoot, which was out in profusion today, along with super Cowslip and Wood Anenome.
The last job of the morning was to check on the owl boxes and the Little Owls. We checked the two owl boxes above Spire View and found both contained Mandarin Duck eggs!! The first box contained 5 eggs and no bird, while the second box contained 9 or possibly10 eggs and a female Mandarin Duck.
The second box, shown above, was full of down as well, whereas the eggs in the first box were laid simply on the sticks and leaves that were already in the box. Anyway, we'll fill in BTO nest record cards for both boxes and watch what happens. I'll let you know. We also checked the tree where we'd seen a couple of Little Owls and were very pleased to find one bird sitting tight. The hole is pretty small, so we couldn't see what the bird was sitting on, but we'll keep monitoring over the next few weeks and hopefully record a successful brreding attempt here as well.
I popped back to Linacre again this morning and walked around all three reservoirs recording the first Willow Warblers (4 singing), Sand Martins (6 over the top reservoir) and Blackcaps (4 singing) of the year. Nice!!! Just need the flycatchers, Swifts and House Martins to come back now.