Saturday, 10 May 2014

What a Great Spot

Yesterday was the first round of checking most of my nest boxes around Tregaron and Strata Florida - in all nearly 200 boxes. I've been doing some of these boxes for nearly 30 years and yesterday I had a species in them I've never had before!

Whilst going around the one wood it was apparent that a Great Spotted Woodpecker had been wreaking havoc, attacking a lot of the boxes and opening the sides, despite most having metal plates. On getting to one 'damaged' box I opened the lid and inside was a Great Spot, instinctively I reached in and grabbed it before it had chance to make its escape.

Amazingly, and completely unexpected, underneath her were two eggs!

Whilst examining the bird it soon became apparent that she had a dead left leg (see top photo). She was otherwise in good shape so I decided to ring her anyway. I'm not sure if her dead leg was part of the reason she had opted for the easy option of using an existing hole in a nest box rather than excavating one but it may have been. Interestingly the stiff tail feathers, used as props when on a tree trunk, were all slightly skewed to the left presumably as a result of not sitting on the tree straight. 

On release she flew to a nearby tree and proceeded to hop up it near normally, infact, if I hadn't just handled her I would never have noticed the difference. Will be great to see if the eggs hatch and they produce the first brood of Great Spotted Woodpeckers I'll have ever ringed.

Other nests included at least 27 Pied Flycatcher,  5 Redstart, 3 Nuthatch and a load of tits!

Some of the Pied Flycatchers and Redsatrts had started incubation but most were still clutching-up

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