Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Linacre Roundup 2013

During 2013 I managed a total of 35 full visits to Linacre and 17 ringing visits. Over the course of the year 79 species of bird were recorded either on the reservoirs or flying overhead. Included in these were 5 new species: Hobby, Peregrine Falcon, Cuckoo, Reed Bunting and Yellowhammer. Other groups that provided sightings were Chesterfield RSPB Local Group, Sheffield Bird Study Group and Sorby Breck Ringing Group. Many thanks to everyone who recorded sightings, especially the members of the RSPB Group who attended the monthly WeBS walks. Thanks also to Jackie and Jill, the DCC rangers based at Linacre.

The monthly WeBS walks continued throughout 2013. No new species were recorded this year, but counts of both Mallard and Tufted Duck in the second winter period were the highest on record. Black-headed Gulls were the main species of gull recorded at Linacre, and, for the first time ever, a colour ringed bird from Poland was recorded (see here for details).  Other waterbirds were recorded in average numbers throughout the year, except for Kingfisher, which had its best year yet, being recorded on most visits from August onwards. Surely they must be breeding nearby?

As well as the WeBS information, one of the key things I like to monitor at Linacre is the number of bird species that breed. This year was a much better one, despite the very late spring. Two new species were proven to breed on site this year; Grey Wagtail and Little Owl. In addition I was very lucky to find a Song Thrush nest that survived to fledge 3 chicks, and 166 Blue and Great Tits also fledged from the nest boxes this year. Unfortunately, even though a Pied Flycatcher was recorded singing, he didn't manage to attract a mate. An overview of the breeding season can be found here.

As mentioned above I continued to visit Linacre with other members of the Sorby Breck Ringing Group to ring birds. This year we made 17 visits and ringed 517 birds of 25 species. The vast majority were Blue and Great Tits (226 and 124 respectively), but also included 7 new species, namely; Crossbill, Woodpigeon, Little Owl, Mandarin Duck, Willow Warbler, Magpie and Reed Bunting. Ringing will continue next year, and hopefully we'll be able to add some new species again. Pied Flycatcher and Tawny Owl perhaps?

Last, but by no means least, Insects! I tried to pay a bit more attention to this area of natural history in 2013, and I did manage to add several new species to the "Linacre List". The highlights for me were the two new butterfly species - Clouded Yellow and Painted Lady. Please click on the "Linacre insects" label for details of the species seen this year.

So that's it for 2013. I hope you've enjoyed reading about the wildlife at this superb site over the last twelve months. Hopefully you'll keep reading in 2014. Don't forget I joined Twitter this year as well, so if you don't already follow me, please give it a go on @linacreblogger.

Happy New Year to everyone!!

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