Monday, 30 March 2015

Slow going

I am getting bored with this weather as we seem to be stuck between seasons with winter not quite releasing its grip and spring not having the oomph of some southerly airflow to really get going. If we are unlucky it could drag on like this for some time with migration continuing at a slow pace but if we get some decent conditions there is likely to be a sudden rush of summer visitors. Unfortunately the forecast doesn't look too promising although we should have a brief respite this Thursday and hopefully a few migrants on the back of it.

I have only ringed one Chiffchaff since my last post and they are still fairly thin on the ground or absent from my sites. A wintering male Blackcap is still visiting the feeders in the garden each day and I am almost certain it is the bird that was ringed there on 10th January. A second male also makes an occasional appearance and I suspect this is the other male I ringed in January rather than a newly arrived spring migrant.

Chiffchaff ringed 25/03/15
Blackcap in the garden 28/03/15 and the same bird was still present today. I have partially read the ring number from photographs and I am fairly confident it is the bird I ringed in the garden on 10th January and first appeared in the garden on 1st January.
On the plus side I did find my first nest of the spring today. I was watching the ringed Blackcap on a feeder when I noticed a female Blackbird leave the privet hedge below. I had seen one carrying nesting material in that area the other week so went out to have a look. I soon spotted the nest containing at least 3 eggs but I rushed back in the house to get the camera rather than counting them there and then. I was only inside for less than a minute but when I got back to the nest the Blackbird had returned and was sat tight. I didn't want to disturb her so I will have to count the clutch another day.

The privet hedge has a lot of ivy growing through it and the bird has picked a location where a lot of debris from cuttings builds up in the hedge.
..........and a closer view from the same angle.
Unfortunately the chances of this nest being successful are very low. The nest is only a couple of feet off the ground and cats are not infrequent visitors to the garden. Blackbirds usually hatch their eggs but their problems really start when the young are well grown and start to get noisy. Cats generally find the nest at this stage and cause the young to leave prematurely. They either kill them all then or they pick them off over the next day or so. If they are really lucky the odd youngster survives. I do my best to protect nests and have used wire mesh to try and keep the cats at bay in the past but it doesn't always work. If the Blackbirds nested at a higher level it would improve their chances but they rarely do so despite the availability of suitable sites.

No comments:

Post a Comment