Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Brackenhurst, Saturday 23 November

A whole gaggle of group members turned up at Brackenhurst for the first session of the winter at the feeding site. Regulars included Kev, Gary, Pete S, Duncan and myself, plus ringer Liz White who has moved into the area recently and student Rebecca Culling who's looking at the preponderance of feather mites in relation to brightness in Yellowhammers.

The morning was milder than expected, and after an early breeze was quite calm and slightly overcast; just the job for mist netting and we had a decent session with 71 birds of eight species processed.

After the cold spring, a lower than usual number of tits caught was not unexpected. Seven out of ten Great Tits were aged as adults indicating poor breeding success. You would expect juvenile birds to outnumber adults at this time of year. Chaffinches dominated the catch, accounting for about a third of the total. Besides retraps from last winter, we also caught Chaffinches from 2009 and 2010 and Yellowhammers from 2010 and 2011.

Winter thrushes were thin on the ground, but Gary did pick out a Peregrine giving the Wood Pigeons a fright and a Little Owl was calling at dawn.

Totals for individual species ringed/retrapped (53/18) were: Goldcrest 1/0, Dunnock 3/2, Robin 3/0, Long-tailed Tit 6/2, Blue Tit 5/0, Great Tit 4/6, Chaffinch 22/3, Yellowhammer 9/5.


Sunday, 10 November 2013

Ian's Little Owl boxes

This Autumn, the talented construction students at Brooksby Melton College, where I work, built me ten Little Owl nest boxes for a small project around Cropwell Butler where I live. I'd like to find out more about Little Owl preferences, dispersal and breeding success and I am hoping this is a good place to start.

The boxes are based on the Bob Sheppard dimensions which I am led to believe is one of the designs which Little Owls will take to more readily. In fact, as they are known to nest in anything from hay stacks to rabbit burrows it'll be interesting to see what occupancy rates I get with a concentrated effort.

This weekend I erected the last of the boxes around the cow and sheep fields which surround the village, along hedgerows and mainly in mature apple, ash and oak trees. After doing so, I have a fresh appreciation for the hard work that goes into projects like this and a bigger respect for the dedicated conservationists who conduct large scale and long term schemes.

The other evening I was out with my lamp hoping to find Woodcock and ended up catching a young Little Owl which was a pleasant surprise and definitely shows that they are present in the areas where I erected the boxes. Here's hoping for a mild winter and a good breeding season next year.


Saturday, 9 November 2013

Rushcliffe Community Partnership Awards

On Thursday 7 November, Kev, Jim, Duncan and I attended the Rushcliffe Community Partnership Awards 2013 on behalf of SNRG. We had been nominated for an award in the Protecting and Enhancing our Environment category by Gordon Dyne.

We were up against strong opposition and there were 12 other nominees. The award was presented to another very devoted and worthy group, the Friends of Sharphill Wood, but we are still very proud to have been nominated.

However, it's lucky we did not leave in a cob after that though, because for the very last award, the Mayor's special award, the Mayor, Cllr Brian Buschman, had shortlisted us for his own award. We didn't win it, but it was very nice to finish joint second! We received a certificate and memento as recognition of this nomination.

It was a very prestigious event with lots of worthy volunteers receiving recognition for their tireless and selfless efforts in all areas of community volunteering.

Fingers crossed for next year.

Mick P


Monday, 4 November 2013

Common Redpoll at Bestwood

I caught a Common Redpoll at Bestwood today. It was in the net with 2 Lesser Redpolls so it really stuck out. It had a wing length of 75mm and weighed 11.8g. The only other birds caught were a Tree Sparrow (with a primary moult score of 48), a Reed Bunting, a Blackbird and a retrap Great Tit.

Mick P

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Barn Owls - a final encore?

A single Barn Owl chick ringed near Bottesford today concludes the 2013 breeding season monitoring. There had been 4 chicks there a month ago. It'll need a large slice of good fortune to make it through to breed in 2014. Let's hope for a kind winter and better times with the owls in 2014.