Last November, on the 21st, I was lucky enough to find a couple of Shags at Linacre, my first ever record at this site. Over the next few hours, the number of birds increased to 8 (!), 3 of which stayed until the start of 2016. 2 were present until March, when unfortunately, 1 bird was found dead, attached to some discarded fishing line. The final bird has remained all year, and so 21st November 2016 marked the first anniversary of its discovery. Here are 2 pictures taken in poor light at 4pm this afternoon as the bird swam close to the dam wall of the middle reservoir.
The weather forecast for this morning was dry and settled, so I was down at Linacre with 3 other members of Sorby Breck Ringing Group, and my nephew, Luke, for a ringing session. Ringing was steady and in the 3 and a half hours on site we caught 22 new birds of 7 species. Birds caught were (new/retrap): Blue Tit (7/0), Great Tit (5/2), Coal Tit (0/1), Goldcrest (1/0), Robin (2/2), Chaffinch (1/0) and Nuthatch (1/0).
Whilst ringing at Linacre we often retrap birds that we've previously ringed here. As you can see from the totals above, today we re trapped, amongst others, 2 Great Tits, 1 of which was wearing a B ring. As soon as we see a Great Tit wearing a B ring we get excited, because this means the bird was ringed as a pullus, in the nest (adult birds are ringed with an A ring). Anyway, this afternoon I found out that today's bird was ringed at Linacre Reservoirs, by me, in a nestbox just above the top reservoir, at 7.30pm on Thursday 4th June 2015 (thanks for the details David). It came from a brood of 5 birds, and this sighting is the first since it was ringed. All the birds ringed in this box fledged successfully, but none of the other birds have been re trapped ... yet. See blog post here for details of the ringing trip. Here's a picture of one of today's Great Tits (can't remember if it's the re trapped bird or not!).
In between net rounds we also recorded the following birds: Kestrel (1), Sparrowhawk (1), Jay, Starling (c.20), Magpie (1), Mistle Thrush (1), Bullfinch (heard), Siskin (heard), Long-tailed Tit (heard), Woodpigeon (10s) and the immature Shag (found on the bottom reservoir by Luke- thanks).
For the last few weeks there has been an increasing numbers of Waxwings being reported on Birdguides. There were a couple of reports in Derbyshire last week, and then, at the start of the week a report came through of 2 or 3 birds that were present in the Donkey Derby pub car park in Chesterfield. I had a drive down earlier in the week, without success, but today I returned, and managed to see 1 bird. Here are a few photos.
No ringing last week because of the weather, but I managed to get out this morning with David from The Group. We had a couple of hours at a private site in Sheffield, where we caught and ringed 11 birds of 7 species (new/retrap) : Blue Tit 3/0, Great Tit 0/1, Coal Tit 2/0, Goldfinch 2/0, Wren 1/0, House Sparrow 1/0 and Dunnock 1/0. Thanks David, for letting me ring them all!
I haven't managed to get around Linacre this weekend, but I did have about half an hour there this afternoon to see if I could find the Shag. Thankfully, after a "no-show" last weekend, it was back on its favourite perch on the bottom reservoir. Next week, the 21st, is the "anniversary" of the discovery of 8 Shags at Linacre (see here), so I'm hopeful that this one will remain until then. I'm keeping everything crossed.
Luke and I managed a couple of visits to Linacre this weekend, and spent just under four hours on site. We walked around all 3 reservoirs, but failed to see the immature Shag on either visit. Hopefully it hasn't gone, but was just keeping a low profile. Only time will tell...
The weather on both visits were dry and bright, but, especially on Sunday, the temperature had dropped (to just 2 degrees celsius), and a strong, cold wind had picked up.
Despite the no-show from the Shag we did still see good numbers of waterbirds, especially Mallard (96), Mandarin (85), Tufted Duck (62) and Moorhen (16; 13 adults and 3 juveniles). Other birds seen were: Black-headed Gull (59), Coot (4), Cormorant (3 adults), Grey Wagtail (2) and Little Grebe (1).
Jays were very vocal in the woods and Treecreeper, Nuthatch, Goldcrest, Blackbird, Robin, Wren, Blue, Great, Coal and Long-tailed Tit were also seen. Siskin were also heard overhead as were Redwing, and 5 Mistle Thrush were seen, including 4 together in the Rowan tree by the top reservoir.
Whilst walking around the top reservoir we also spotted these Fly Agaric toadstools.