Yesterday morning it was dry and relatively still so I went down to Linacre with my ringing trainer and 3 other members of Sorby Breck Ringing Group to do some ringing and check on the owl nestboxes.
In the 3 hours that we were there we caught 27 birds, including 3 Chiffchaffs (2 new and 1 retrap), 2 new Blackcaps, a new Bullfinch and 3 retrapped Nuthatches, along with 2 Robins, and several Blue, Great and Coal Tits.
As well as this, 3 of the group went to check on the Little Owl nest and the 4 owl boxes that we have on site. The Little Owls nest in a natural cavity in an oak tree, and today we found the female bird sitting tight, presumably on eggs. Unfortunately, the site isn't accessible, so we won't be able to monitor this nest or ring any chicks.
Last time we checked the owl boxes (see here), we found a female Mandarin Duck in one, and a single egg in another. Today's visit produced 2 female Mandarin Ducks, both on clutches of eggs; 13 and 16 respectively! What was even better, was the fact that we managed to ring both Mandarin Ducks, a new species for me and Alan. We didn't have any Mandarin nests last year, as the boxes were taken over by Grey Squirrels, so today's news was particularly welcome. As always, the nests will be entered into the BTO's Nest Record Scheme by the Group.
As well as the ringing, we also managed a bit of bird watching; the highlights being a fly-over Greylag Goose (the second Linacre record this year), and a pair of over-flying Ravens (the first Linacre record of 2015).