Friday, 28 July 2017

Wendover 27th July 2017 CES#9


CES #9 was completed in overcast conditions, but the wind was much less of a problem than on the last occasion.  The total catch of 37 was below the average (45)and quite surprisingly 43% of the birds were trapped in Net Ride #1, not normally known for its productivity.  Pleasingly Ride #1 produced 2 juvenile Whitethroats which seems to indicate that there has been some breeding on site, possibly in an area not usually used.  For the second session running no Dunnocks were trapped.  Both Chaffinch and Goldfinch put in short appearances and new Blackbirds continue to appear in significant numbers.

Ginny & Pete


SPECIES
Row Summary
New Bird
Retrap
Blackbird
10
9
1
Blackcap
4
4

Blue Tit
6
6

Bullfinch
4
1
3
Chaffinch
3
3

Chiffchaff
1
1

Goldfinch
3
3

Great Tit
1
1

Robin
1
1

Song Thrush
1

1
Whitethroat
2
2

Wren
1
1

Total
37
32
5

Thursday, 27 July 2017

Marsworth 16th July 2017 CES 8

Marsworth Reservoir CES 8
Weather: Cloudy, breezy
Ringers: LL, CK, GK, CMS
Nets up:  540'  05:15 to 11:15am

This is a bit of a delayed report on CES 8.
We had a slow start with only 20 birds by 7am but then it continued steadily with a good range of species. The long-tailed tits were all in wing moult and a few of the other juveniles had started post-juv moult: great tit, willow warbler, reed bunting, goldcrest (see photo below) and one or two blackcaps and chiffs.
The final total of 85 was above the average (76) and our yearly total is now 480 compared to an average of 453. This is a result of the last two good sessions. 
Lynne

SPNAME
Row Summary
New Bird
Retrap
Blackcap
7
5
2
Blue Tit
1
1

Bullfinch
2

2
Cetti's Warbler
1

1
Chiffchaff
21
11
10
Dunnock
2
2

Goldcrest
3
2
1
Great Tit
2

2
Long-tailed Tit
9
4
5
Reed Bunting
3

3
Reed Warbler
18
14
4
Sedge Warbler
3
1
2
Song Thrush
1

1
Treecreeper
2

2
Willow Warbler
2
1
1
Wren
8
3
5
Totals
85
44
41

Goldcrest with adult feathers growing on head

Reed warbler with fault bar on tail - a result of poor nutrition when the feathers were growing.

Square-stemmed St. John's wort

Saturday, 22 July 2017

Ashridge barn owl success

One of the new barn owl boxes at Ashridge were put to good use with fantastic results. The barn owl boxes made by National Trust volunteer, Phil Penn, were erected last summer around the Ashridge estate. The grasslands of the Ashridge Estate form the largest continuous area of chalk grassland in the Chilterns. With the variety in structure including mixed scrub, arable reversion grassland and short turf species-rich areas there is plenty of habitat for small mammals and owls as well as the more typical flora and insect fauna associated with this habitat.

One of the boxes built by Phil was chosen to house two rescued barn owls that had been cared for at Tiggywinkles Wildlife Hospital and were ready for release. The area had been carefully assessed to make sure that there was sufficient good hunting habitat around the box site and there were no other owls already using the area and then the pair of rescued owls were placed in the box with a few days food supply. After that was used up they would have to rely on their own hunting skills to find enough food.

When the box was checked in May it was empty but Emily, the National Trust ranger accompanied by Katy from Tiggywinkles were thrilled to find two barn owls fly out of a second box that was sited close by. Certain that these were the released owls the box was left undisturbed for another month. When I went with Emily to check in mid-June we were extremely pleased to find an adult female barn owl with two small chicks in the box.

The chicks were a bit too small to ring so we left them for another month with fingers crossed that the adults would continue to find enough food to keep both chicks alive. At the next visit on 13th July, we found two beautiful large chicks in the box and they were taken out to be ringed, measured and weighed.

The young barn owls are carefully taken out of the box.

Barn owl chick approximately 6 weeks old.
The chicks were approximately six weeks old and the adult feathers were half grown. One chick was more developed than the other which is normal as the chicks hatch asynchronously although they actually weighed almost exactly the same 335g - 340g. The older chick was possibly a female as there were already signs of black flecking on the adult feathers but the primaries and tail were quite pale.
Black flecking on the thigh
smallest chick

Adult feathers half grown through the down.


The chicks were returned to the box still calm and sleepy. Fantastic work by everyone involved.

(NB Emily is a licenced BTO ringer with Tring Ringing Group and has the appropriate schedule 1 licence to disturb a barn owl nest site for the purpose of ringing and nest recording.)


Friday, 21 July 2017

Wendover WTW 21st July 2017 CES#8

Wendover CES 8


CES#8 was completed in less than ideal conditions, with a strong breeze developing towards the end.   The number trapped (33) was below the mean of 44 but we were glad to fit the session in after a number of false starts during the week due to early morning rain.  The species list was dominated by Blackbirds and Blackcaps both of which are now approaching reasonable totals for the year.  Bird of the day was undoubtedly the juvenile male Green Woodpecker, only the 5th to be trapped on site.   A single juvenile Whitethroat put in an appearance – just to remind us of what we have been missing this year.  No Dunnocks were trapped which is most unusual for the site – maybe they didn’t like the strong wind?

Adam, Ginny & Pete




SPNAME
Row Summary
New Bird
Retrap
Blackbird
7
7

Blackcap
8
7
1
Blue Tit
1
1

Bullfinch
3
1
2
Chiffchaff
2
1
1
Green Woodpecker
1
1

Greenfinch
1
1

Robin
3
2
1
Song Thrush
3
1
2
Whitethroat
1
1

Wren
3
3

Totals
33
26
7