At the end of the year I like to do a quick review of the birding and ringing that has taken place at Linacre in the previous 12 months.
First up, the bird watching. Overall, 2014 was a very average year with a total of 75 bird species reported. The only new species in 2014 were Common Gull and Greenfinch. Breeding birds included the usual waterbirds (Mallard, Mandarin Ducks, Tufted Duck; 2 broods, Coot, Moorhen and Great-crested Grebe, but no Little Grebes). The nestboxes were used by Blue and Great Tits as usual, but 2014 also saw a Wren's nest in one of the boxes for the first time. A Tawny Owl was roosting in one of the "owl boxes" again, but didn't nest in it this year. Unfortunately, no Pied or Spotted Flycatchers were reported at all. Other species which seem to be in trouble included Lesser-spotted Woodpecker and Willow Tit, both of which were only reported once!
Chesterfield RSPB Group continued to carry out the monthly WeBS walks. Again, numbers were average in 2014, with no major surprises. Cormorants were recorded in every month, the first time this has happened since my recording began in 2006, and included a highest ever count of 8 individuals.
Ringing by me and 5 other members of the Sorby Breck Ringing Group took place at Linacre on 13 occasions in 2014 and a total of 727 birds ( 352 fully grown, 235 pulli and 140 retraps) were ringed, our highest number so far. Just one new species was added this year; Lesser Redpoll (3 individuals in March and 1 in November). Blue Tit and Great Tit pulli numbers were the highest since we started, and we received our first record of a ringed Blue Tit away from Linacre, when a young bird was found dead in Old Brampton 27 days after ringing. Finally, summer visitor numbers were good in 2014 with our highest ever catch of Blackcap (31; 30 new and 1 retrap), and our first November record of Chiffchaff (a juvenile caught and ringed on 1st November).
So, that's that for 2014. Hope you've enjoyed reading this short summary, and will keep looking in again on 2015.