Sunday, 4 May 2014

Ringing, Nesting, Year List addition and a new insect

I thought today's title should give you some idea of what I got up to at Linacre yesterday morning, so I hope it does exactly that.

First up, the ringing. I met at 05.45am with 4 other members of the Group for a mist netting session. When we arrived, it was zero degrees and there was a heavy frost covering the Cowslips and Red Campion. The sun soon came up, the frost melted, and we began to catch birds in the nets. First bird of the day was a Nuthatch, our first for Linacre this year. We also caught another one later on. Blackcaps seemed to be everywhere this morning, and we managed to catch 3 different birds. A Whitethroat (Year Tick) was heard singing and seen a short distance from the nets, but wasn't caught. The final migrant of the day was Chiffchaff, of which we caught 3, including a retrap from last year. We also managed a stunning male Bullfinch, several Dunnocks, Robins, a female Chaffinch, a male Blackbird  and Great Tits.

After the ringing finished at about 9.30am I decided to do a "quick" round of the boxes. Two and  a half hours later I'd been round all the tit boxes and had recorded 34 active nests with eggs and/or sitting adults, an increase of 10 nests since my last visit. This number is an occupancy rate of 39%, up from 29% on my last visit (see here). Very pleased to say the least! As before, all the nests were Blue or Great Tits, and there was still no sign of any Pied Flycatchers. Whilst walking around the site I also managed to spot a Grey Wagtail nest with 4 eggs, and saw a female Chaffinch carrying food, which is the first time I've recorded proof that Chaffinches actually breed on site. Other evidence of breeding today included the  Coot nest on the top reservoir which contained at least 1 small young today, 3 broods of Mallard (1,1 and 7), and the 2 Great-crested Grebe nests which are still being incubated.

The last item on my title today is a new insect. The insect in question is a species of ladybird; the Eyed Ladybird. As you can see from this link, this insect is found in conifer woodlands, which is exactly where I found today's specimen, so it should be relatively common at Linacre. I'll have to keep my eyes peeled for more examples over the summer.

Eyed Ladybird

Year List update:
142 - Whitethroat

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