Everything is happening at once at the moment, which is keeping us very busy! The Reed warbler season has kicked off to a good start - we're currently monitoring nests at three sites, totalling 62 nests found. Our main reed bed site in Cheshire is holding 41 nests (that we know of!) and we've already ringed our first broods & recorded our first fledged young!
We've also been very busy over at WWT Martin Mere monitoring the Tree sparrow boxes. Out of 109 boxes checked 71 contained nests of Tree sparrow. Most chicks being ringed from these boxes & nest record cards filled out for all attempts. Most of the first broods have now left and second clutches are now well under way!
I'm expecting both our 2012 Reed warbler & Tree sparrow nest record totals to be well over 100 cards for both species!
I usually fly solo when nest recording, however this year I've teamed up with Gillian & Chris and out of this has come the Brides, Bridge & Dinsmore (BBD) nest recording partnership.
Although we're spread across the country myself at Slimbridge, Gloucestershire, Gillian in Stirling & Chris in Bangor, N Wales - we are not only nest recording at sites near our homes, but we meet up 'in the middle' (or near enough!) in Manchester every weekend. This is so that we can continue to run several monitoring projects such as the Reed warbler & Tree sparrow recording, that I've been running for several years now.
At the moment a lot of our time is being spent out in the field, however during a recent group meeting we sat down & worked out that we've something around 700-750 nest record cards on the go at the moment, between us. 300+ of these now complete, sitting in IPMR and awaiting submission to BTO HQ.
I think ringing & nest recording should go together in the same way that Ant & Dec does, Gin with Tonic & Morecambe and Wise - In that one can work without the other, but it just wouldn’t be right to just have the one! So much information can be gleaned from ringing & nest recording if both are put together.
Anyhow back to the ringing side of things. Today whilst working from WWT Martin Mere, during lunch I joined my colleagues from the Reserve Team & we headed out onto the reserve to check on the Barn owls. I'm happy to report that the owls this year seem to be having a better year than previous years, as we found one brood of three healthy chicks, along with a female sitting on 6 eggs.
Two nice Kestrel broods were also added to the days findings, both containing newly hatched chicks & one of the adult females we managed to trap on the nest, which was duly ringed before she bid a feisty retreat back into her box! Blood pouring from my hand......! (from me not the bird!)
So I hope the above goes to show for the lack of blog post recently! We're spending a lot of time out in the field, still ringing lots of birds - but struggling to keep up with the admin work! We need an admin team!
I've got some exciting ringing events & trips coming up over the coming weeks - so check back soon!!