Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Weekly report (GBW and ring reading)

Garden Birdwatch - 5 Long-tailed Tit visited the feeders on Thursday, this was the first record since the first week in January and becomes only the second record in the last 13 months. Goldfinch numbers have also increased this week with a number of juveniles attending the garden feeders. The table below shows the results for this week and for Goldfinch for this time of year since 2010. Week 39 finished on Saturday.

a couple of garden video's this week before moving onto ring reading

I had planned to go to the Hayle estuary Saturday and Sunday afternoon but a bout of food poisoning Saturday evening saw me laid up for two days. Thankfully I did manage Saturday afternoon. An influx of Med Gull's had arrived with there being none on the previous three weekends to 35 this weekend of which 3 were colour ringed, Green RR00, Red HJN1 and Red PJR4. Green RR00 is a French bird ringed in Vendee and seen numerous occasions in Vendee for the breeding season and wintering on the Hayle with a spell in Las Palmas in March 2014. I have yet to hear back from the other two with one being Hungarian, the other Polish (I believe). 

Monday, 19 September 2016

Missing in Action for 3yrs

The life histories of the two colour ringed Herring Gull's I found on the Hayle estuary are below

I wonder where 3CT1 has been during the 3 year gap. Thanks to Paul Veron (Guernsey Gulls) and Terry for the histories

Sunday, 18 September 2016

Poor weekend of ring reading. Garden changes slowly and WeBS

There's a distinct lack of Swallow around now, a good dozen were camped on the telegraph line outside my house yesterday as they get ready to leave the UK. With a migration of over 9,000km weighing only 19g with a wingspan of 34 cm, it's a tough migration. Swallow do not build up fat reserves, feeding instead en-route. Soon the geese and thrushes will be arriving from the North and East.

A weekend of ring reading on the Hayle estuary and the local reservoir only produced 5 colour ringed birds, very disappointing. Herring Gull blue W:188 was viewed on the Hayle on Saturday having been ringed locally in St Ives. Sunday brought 3 more Herring Gull's on the Hayle, black 420 which I found and reported there a couple of weeks ago, one of Paul Veron's birds from Guernsey white 3CT1 and this little story - I picked up one of Mark Grantham's local gull's just as it entered the water. It came back out again only to be obscured by another Herring gull, I moved 10ft to the left, it went into the water again then I lost it completely when a Peregrine came in.... Blue W:020 was on Stithians reservoir this afternoon

Back in the garden and the camera trap picked up a Wood Mouse overnight during the week which was unfortunately found dead the next day. One of the neighbours cat's is suspected. Butterfly numbers have dropped well away and will surely only be recorded now for another week or two at the most.

Two hydrangeas that have "frustrating" me for a while now have been dug out, 6ft high trellis will be put up later in the year to grow "Rosa canina" (dog rose). I was going to put it next weekend but I think it can wait until I have a week off in December. That way I can save up and put trellis up the whole way round the garden as the cotoneaster is spreading quite nicely along the walls.

Below are the results for this week's Garden Birdwatch -

Compare the figures above to the ones below for the same period in 2013. The development of the garden as a wildlife garden is clearly evident but note the huge difference in Small Tortoiseshell numbers. This is probably due to the timing and longevity of buddleia flowers but better notes need to be kept to be certain.

A WeBS (Wetland Bird Survey) was also undertaken this morning. It's only a small lake set in woodland but coverage of lots of small lakes contribute to a much larger picture of British wildlife. It was particularly pleasing to see a Kingfisher and a Teal on the lake.

Below are the counts for each September during the 14 yrs the lake has been surveyed.

And now -

video footage of a visiting Badger below with a couple of stills beneath that.

The Cotoneaster is now becoming loaded with berries in many places 

 and the berries on my Pyracantha's are developing

and the berries on the Hypericum

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

colour ring sightings and the garden

I found three colour ringed Herring Gull on the local reservoir on Sunday and thanks to Mark Grantham I now have the life histories (below). All three were ringed locally by Mark. The tides are right this weekend for a visit to Hayle estuary to see what I can find down there.

Meanwhile in the garden, after last nights terrible storm which saw over 9 inches of rain in less than an hour with continuous thunder and lightning and even more in the early hours I was surprised to be able to get some gardening in tonight after work.

First job was to trim back the geranium that hasn't many flowers left on it which in turn uncovered "woodhenge". The photo's are not the best, it looks better in real life -

It consists of 8 standing woods with 2 top cappers at the back. The long piece bottom left is to mark the boundary of the feeding station.

I also planted 3 "perfect for pollinators" tonight in the form of Agastache "blue boa" pictured below

Huechera "cherry cola" in the foreground

Some of the sedum flower heads are looking great, others not so great

these (below) - Sedum raspberry truffle and Sedum sunsparkler Lime Zinker are not doing so well however they were reduced from £7.50 - £4 so I would imagine that next year's display will be far better.

Still plenty of flowers left on the cornflowers below

not too sure yet where to put this piece of driftwood -

In the garage under glass are two seed trays with freshly sown Digitalis purperea (foxglove)

and finally -

winter bulbs poking through.....

Monday, 12 September 2016

More help for the bees

For 12 months or so the hydrangeas at the bottom of the garden have been troubling me. I hate digging up plants that are still living but these were already planted by the previous owner. Whilst many hydrangeas are sterile there are small insects that visit these flowers but no bees. Its time to dig them up, fix wood stakes to the wall and sit some trellis on top of the wall. This will block the view of passers by when I'm sat in the garden and should enable my intended plant - the dog rose (Rosa canina) to grow higher. I'm also going to put up trellis around my otter bench against my boundary walls to block out the neighbours and once again, plant dog rose or similar. This plant is great for bees and should hopefully improve wildlife over the hydrangeas. The area in front of the 1st image is kept clean for the sparrows dust bath so it'll actually give them a bigger area as well so the sparrows win as well as the bees.

 The two hydrangeas

Dog rose "Rosa canina"

Sunday, 11 September 2016

A week in the wildlife garden

A peak count this week of 52 House Sparrow was very pleasing however it does not constitute the overall peak count since records began. Week 37 has just ended,  60 and 50 were counted in week's 36&37 respectively in 2011with a further 40 in Week 37 in 2012 so 52 this week does not come as a surprise.

The end of road has come for the buddleia flowers and with it a severe drop in numbers for Butterflies although the Aster's continue to attract Small Tortoishell's

as do the Sedum's. I have several varieties of Sedum which will be covered in a later post

so, the results of the last 7 days in the garden can be found below -

Saturday, 10 September 2016

2016 Nest record results and images

This year saw 200 nest records submitted mainly due to the extremely dry weather in April and May. Whilst much of the country had cool wet conditions, Cornwall had two wet days only in both April and May allowing for far more hours to be spent in the field looking for nests than would normally be available although I was on the Isle of Mull for 11 days in May on holiday.

My nesting revolves around the nest box scheme in the local woods, built and funded by myself. This takes priority and is a great way to try to engage others into nature. All other nest records for woodland species are gained in between box rounds. A seabird colony is also monitored with the priority being Cormorant and Fulmar with all other species being subject to available time and good weather.

Below is a table for 2016 

and here is the comparable table for last year -

The biggest user of the boxes is undoubtedly Blue Tit and here are tables for this year and for comparison last years results(bottom)

With 61.7% of the eggs producing chicks that fledged in 2016, this year was far better than 2015 where only 37.7% of the eggs went on to produced fledged young. The increase in number of nests in 2016 was due to the box scheme expanding to cover new areas of woodland and will continue to increase this winter with a potential 25 boxes to be added to a new area

Great Tit have had a slightly worse season than last year with a similar number of nests being built

The subject of Nuthatch is discussed at length in the annual "Landowners Report" that will be issued shortly. Rather than an increase in boxes that has seen the Nuthatch rise from 1 pair to 3 pairs, it is the breeding success that has contributed. The first suitable boxes for Nuthatch were erected in 2013 where none were used, the same occurring in 2014. In 2015 7 young fledged from the 1 pair with 3 pairs using boxes this year. Hopefully 2017 will see a further rise to 4 pairs.

A summary of sea birds will appear at a later date

in the meantime here's some images from the woods

 Mistle Thrush young

Blackbird young and unhatched egg 

Blue Tit young (2) and eggs 

Blue Tit's near to fledging 

Great Tit's near to fledging

Nuthatch young

Nuthatch about to enter the box with food

Blue Tit leaves with a faecal sac whilst the partner arrives with a caterpillar