Saturday, 31 May 2014

Ian's Little Owl nest box success

It has been good to find the Little Owls have been using the nest boxes which I erected last winter around Cropwell Butler as well as the boxes at Clifton Grove which Rob Hoare has kindly granted me permission to monitor with him.

I was pleased to find an already ringed female with chicks, she appears to not be a South Notts ringed bird so I look forward to finding out more about her shortly.

It was also good to know that some of these rather smelly chicks had very full bellies regardless of the cool and wet weather we have had recently.



Friday, 30 May 2014

Clifton Grove and Barton under threat again!

The Clifton Grove and Brandshill area of the Trent Valley is one of the county's great wildlife hotspots, and once again it appears to be under threat. The Council are planning extensive sand and gravel extraction across a large area of a site which hosts a numbers of resident red-listed bird species that are of high conservation concern: Grey Partridge, Lesser-spotted Woodpecker, Skylark, Song Thrush, Marsh Tit, Starling, Linnet, Reed Bunting and the Corn Bunting.

It is also a key stop-off point for migrants such as Ring Ouzel, Wheatear, Short-eared Owl, Hobby and Whinchat and a large cast of migrant waders.

There are also a host of Little Owl nest boxes which myself and Rob monitor yearly, which also fall into this zone.

Please voice your concerns wherever possible. The Clifton Pastures area has been very badly effected by the tram and A453 developments as of late and now the proposed activity at Barton looks set to bring further upset.

Check out Rob Hoare's fantastic Clifton Grove Birds website for further information:


Recent Recoveries

A Cormorant which was colour-ringed as a chick at Attenborough Nature Reserve in April 2013 was re-sighted at Cossington, Leicestershire in March 2014. Another Cormorant which was also colour-ringed as a chick at Attenborough Nature Reserve in April 2013 was re-sighted at Lound, Retford in July 2013.

A Sparrowhawk which was ringed as a chick at Clifton in 2009 was recovered after hitting a window in Market Rasen, Lincolnshire in March 2014.

A Great Tit ringed as a chick at Cotham, Nottinghamshire in May 2009 and a Great Tit ringed as a chick at Hawton in June 2012 were both controlled at Elston, Nottinghamshire during January 2014.

Two Lesser Redpoll which were ringed at Bestwood in September 2011 were both controlled at Warsop in February 2014.


Thursday, 29 May 2014

Attenborough CES Visit 3, Sunday 25 May

The Met Office are as accurate with their forecasts as I am picking the lottery numbers, which led to Nabegh, Sue, Duncan, Gary and I spending the first half hour of this CES session standing in the pouring rain with the nets still in their bags. It did stop which allowed us to put up the nets, then started, then stopped etc. which had us on the starting blocks to run and furl until about 09:00 when the cloud started to break up. It was worth our perseverance as we had the best catch of the season so far and a little variety with a new Kingfisher, Great Spotted Woodpecker and Magpie.

The totals were 29 new and 14 retrap, made up as follows (new/retrap): Song Thrush 0/1, Blackcap 4/3, Great Tit 6/2, Blue Tit 0/1, Chiffchaff 0/1, Bullfinch 1/0, Robin 1/1, Dunnock 2/1, Garden Warbler 1/1, Reed Warbler 1/1, Long-tailed Tit 10/1, Blackbird 0/1, Great Spotted Woodpecker 1/0, Kingfisher 1/0, Magpie 1/0.

The oldest retraps were the 2007 Reed Warbler that we'd also caught last week and another Garden Warbler from 2010. Lastly we ringed a few broods of tit pulli in the nest boxes.

 Kingfisher (Sue Lakeman)

Monday, 19 May 2014

Attenborough CES Visit 2, Sunday 18 May

Alex, Duncan, Gary, Sue and I carried out the second CES visit of the year at Attenborough on Sunday. The weather was still and sunny throughout. The catch was better than Visit 1 as we caught the first few juvenile birds of the year and seemingly more migrant warblers had arrived.

The totals for the day were 27 new and 9 retraps made up as follows (new/retrap): Song Thrush 1/0, Blackcap 5/2, Great Tit 2/1, Blue Tit 4/0, Chiffchaff 3/0, Willow Warbler 0/1, Bullfinch 0/1, Robin 4/1, Dunnock 1/1, Garden Warbler 1/1, Reed Warbler 0/1, Long-tailed Tit 2/0, Reed Bunting 2/0, Chaffinch 2/0. The oldest retraps were a Reed Warbler from 2007 and a Garden Warbler from 2010.


Chaffinch (Sue Lakeman)

Friday, 9 May 2014

Bonus Tawny Owls

A bonus of some early box checking (thanks Don!) has been a few extra Tawny Owls in Barn Owl boxes. This brood was near Long Clawson tonight.


Monday, 5 May 2014

Attenborough CES Visit 1, Sunday 4 May

Alex, Duncan, Gary, Nick and I carried out the first CES visit of the year at Attenborough on Sunday. The weather conditions were close to perfect and the first bird in the net was a Cetti’s Warbler, so all looked well for a good catch. Unfortunately the birds did not share our optimism and catches were slow throughout the morning. We did get a pair off Great Spotted Woodpeckers which were interesting in that both male and female had a large engorged stage 3 brood patch. Both sexes of this species do incubate but I have never seen such an advanced brood patch on a male before although the majority of the Woodpeckers we do catch are normally caught outside of the breeding season.

The totals for the day were 18 new and 5 retraps made up as follows: Song Thrush 0/1, Blackbird 1/1, Great Spotted Woodpecker 2/0, Blackcap 2/0, Great Tit 2/0, Cetti’s Warbler 1/0, Chiffchaff 1/0, Wren 2/0, Treecreeper 1/0, Bullfinch 2/2, Robin 2/0, Dunnock 1/1, Garden Warbler 1/0.


 Great Spotted Woodpeckers: female on the left (practising its pecking on Alex's hand - the blood is Alex's not the bird's) and male with the red nape on the right, blinking. (G. Goddard)

 A slightly blurry picture of the male's brood patch. (N. Humphreys)

Saturday, 3 May 2014


When we first moved into our house in Harby, Starlings inhabited the void between our bedroom ceiling boards and the roof tiles and regularly woke us at feck o'clock in the morning. At one point their enthusiastic home-making actually punctured a hole in the ceiling which began leaking odorous nesting material and such like. Being house-proud and versatile in the DIY department, I fixed the hole with a small piece of gaffer tape and started pondering eviction methods.

Reluctant to use any sort of force, I commissioned a nestbox from my dad and placed it on the wall beside the hole in the roof. It's taken a couple of years, but the roof has now been abandoned and the box occupied. I ringed the first brood of four last night.

It's good to have them here still, despite the barrage of dung covering the car and the paving in front of the house. With populations declining across the country, Harby still seems to host a large population, all of which appear to be feeding young right now.