I completed the third CES session in our Sibthorpe garden on Monday 25 May. Totals below. The only juvenile birds were House Sparrow and Starling. Potter traps are a much more effective way of trapping the latter though and the same is also true of our Blackbirds. Since 1st April, I’ve had 27 individual adults in the garden (20 of which were male). I think with the dry ground, they are having to commute to our deli with its fat balls etc as well as the softer ground by the septic tank.
Birds handled (new/re-encounter 17/7): Blackbird 4/2; Blue Tit -/1, Goldfinch 4/1; Great Tit –/1; Greenfinch 2/1; House Sparrow 3/1; Starling 4/-.
Box-wise, I’ve now checked c50 with Elaine. We try to do no more than 12 per day as all the ladder work in down to me, but it still seems to fill the day. This has included nearly all of the Trust’s boxes.
Priority has been the Tawny Owl boxes and other boxes in their vicinity. Re Tawnies, I’ve now ringed 5 single chicks and found a female on eggs on 20 May to go back to. Only missed one breeding attempt for sure at Fox Covert NR where it looks like they fledged successfully. A banker box had a roosting adult escape 19 May and I wonder if it was a pre-laying bird?
The Little Owls at Brackenhurst had failed due to bees/wasps – one stung me on the chin, but we have chicks to ring at Flintham.
Barn owls – only found one breeding so far, and missing from Flintham Estate - and other local sites - but their kestrels are breeding for 17th year running. I have not found any small mammals cached in any of the owl boxes, which explains low occupancy and does not bode well for the Barn Owl and Kestrel breeding season.
In north Notts, Adrian Blackburn has checked c15 of his best BO boxes and found occupancy 50% down with some holding underweight non-breeders.