Tuesday 23 June 2015

June Bits and Pieces

Time has been limited thus far in June, so we have only managed bits and pieces, here and there.

 Back at the start of the month I re-visited the Castleroe Wood nest boxes to ring the 5 broods that weren't ready in May.  The poor breeding season for Blue & Great Tits continued with only three of the broods having some success.  The first brood had 1 chick and 2 cold eggs, brood two was 2 alive plus one dead chick, brood three were 5 dead chicks, brood five (the only Blue Tits of the season) were 7 cold eggs and brood five was 2 alive & 2 dead. 

 Great Tit

Normally from the 30 boxes (now 29) there is c75% occupancy but that was down to 26/7% occupancy producing only 16 chicks to a ringable age.  All those ringed were Great Tit, so it may be the disastrous season for the Blue Tits that is skewing the results. 

 Great Tit

Each year a pair of Pair Wagtails nest around my house, usually managing two broods.  This year they choose the new nest box nestled in the Climbing Hydrangea.  I ringed the 4 chicks on the 9th of June and they have since fledged.  Hopefully the adults will go again for brood two.

Pied Wagtail 
Last week Adam McClure from the Northern Ireland Raptor Study Group came up to check out some birds of prey nests around the University of Ulster in Coleraine.  Thanks to Adams tree climbing skills we were able to access a couple of nests, although the presumed Buzzard nest was empty but we did get an active Sparrowhawk nest.  There were 3 chicks in the nest with one male and two females.


Another of Adams main projects is running the Northern Ireland Black-headed Gull Survey, which has produced some nice results.  You can check out more information on the blog below.

 Adam hard at work

On Saturday morning John and Steve had a session at the University river site.  In very nice conditions (for basking in the sun) they managed a dozen birds including the first Whitethroat of the year, a couple of Starlings and a few more fledglings of common species.


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