Friday, 29 June 2012

Just how many swallows does it take?

June is always our busiest month for ringing nestlings, and this year has been no exception as can be judged from the lack of blogging!! Actually for the last month I have not only been trying to be both diurnal and nocturnal but amphibious as well! Despite the abundant presence of Swallows locally summer has yet to arrive and waterproofs and thermals are still the order of the day!!

The month started well with helping to catch Cuckoos for the BTO satellite tracking project and finishing off colour-ringing the last few Chough broods in North Wales. Pied Flycatcher nestlings then became priority for a brief while before wing-tagging Red Kite chicks and radio-tagging Nightjars took over. Throw in a few Little Egrets, some Barn Owl and Kestrel broods ringed and some largely abortive searches for successful Merlin and Peregrine nests and that pretty much sums up June 2012 - a month to forget on the whole!! Here are some highlights

And you thought wing-tags came ready made!! All those episodes of Blue Peter and sticky-back plastic weren't a waste of time after all!!

Adam McClure, the RSPB's Northern Ireland Red Kite Project Officer joined us for a week in early June for a bit of training in how to fit wing-tags

with a bit of Great Black-backed Gull strangling thrown in for good measure - it''s the safest way to hold them!

That's worth four in the bush!!

Although 55 more Little Egrets were colour-ringed during the month not all of them fledged successfully, including this poor bird which got itself stuck halfway down one of the big spruce trees the nests are in.

2 of this year's Barn Owl crop. A female on the left (note the buff breast and darker face) and a male on the right. The number of pairs has increased again following the mild winter and some pairs were very early but brood sizes are generally rather poor with lots of twos.

Kestrels on the other hand seem to be doing quite well, at least those in nest boxes and buildings are! The four broods colour-ringed so far were of 6, 5, 5 and 4.

The view from outside the above kestrel nest - who needs ladders? Safe, perfectly safe!!

and some hardy Merlins to return to in early July.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please feel free to leave a comment on any of the posts featured. All comments are moderated however so may take a short time to appear. Unsuitable comments will be deleted.