Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Barn Owls poor, but others have done well

The sudden burst of juvenile birds out of nests during the last six weeks has proved productive on my totals, for example, 119 of the 127 new Siskin and 83 of the 88 new Great Tits were first year birds.

Nest ringing has been productive with a number of Swallow, but also a large brood of Redstart and a brood of Kestrels (below).  The latter being fed almost exclusively on newly fledged Blue and Great Tits instead of the normal small mammal diet.  The three Mallards were my annual rescue of ducklings that have been born in enclosed gardens at Horsham Hospital.

Unfortunately, checking the Barn Owl boxes was not at all successful with every pair that I monitor in the Horsham/Dorking area having foregone breeding this year and this seems to be the same pattern across the south-east if not the whole country.  It is thought that the reason for this is that adults came out of the winter in such poor condition and all the flooding hammered the vole population, so the combination has left them no choice but to defer for a year.  But, on the positive front an adult male (below) caught on Leith Hill which was already ringed had been handled by me twice before! The last time was in another box on here on 9th August 2010 and prior to that in Capel (about 6km away) as a chick in a box on 20th June 2007!  So, over six years old and was actually the first Barn Owl I had ever ringed!  How cool is that!

After a very slow start my CES in Sussex is starting to pick up with highlights being an adult male Green Woodpecker (below top) and two first year Kingfishers (below bottom).  The lack of flooding this summer obviously being beneficial to the breeding of Kingfishers this year.  There have also been really good numbers of juvenile Robin and Wren and the only Treecreepers in this period.

My two sites on Leith Hill have been the most productive, especially for finches and tits, with all of the Siskin, Greenfinch and Goldfinch here and most of the Chaffinch, Great Tit and Blue TitNuthatch have also been high in number, with 11 first year birds caught here so far and the first Woodpigeon of the year.

Birds ringed:
Swallow - 1 + 23 nestlings
Blackcap - 10
Siskin - 127
Chaffinch - 38
Whitethroat - 3
Robin - 33
Bullfinch - 2
Blue Tit - 48
Goldfinch - 5
Redstart - 6 nestlings
Great Tit - 85 + 3 nestlings
Dunnock - 8
Coal Tit - 1
Garden Warbler - 2
Kingfisher - 2
Jay - 1
Magpie - 2
Mallard - 3 ducklings
Kestrel - 3 nestlings
Woodpigeon - 1
Green Woodpecker - 1
Stock Dove - 1
Great Spotted Woodpecker - 10
Blackbird - 13
Song Thrush - 2
Willow Warbler - 1
Wren - 11
Treecreeper - 4
Chiffchaff - 6
Greenfinch - 17
Nuthatch - 11