Monday, 20 January 2014

It's been a while

It's been 6 weeks since my last post but having been contacted by Sian through the BTO's Mentor scheme, having read of Collared Dove's at the Nunnery I figured it was time I started to scribe again.

So, what's happened since my last post - In addition to my two week holiday in Mull later in the year I've booked another week in December up there. My nest box scheme in the woods down the road from me is almost complete - 22 Tit boxes, 2 Nuthatch boxes, a Tawny box has almost finished the scheme, just a couple of Treecreeper boxes now to finish. I was talking to a lady on Saturday who was walking her dog, I know the landowners for two of the three sections of woodland on my doorstep, thanks to this lady I now know the third - if Stuart gives me permission then I have enough woodland on my doorstep to run what will probably be 150 box scheme.

At the end of last year I was going to hammer the coastal site, many seabirds with Stonechat etc thrown in to boot and then I started to think about the 12 mile round trip probably 4-5 days a week, the unpredictable weather that comes with a site on the North coast of Cornwall and the fact that I have areas on my doorstep. By the end of December I had decided that to hammer the coast was folly so I decided to cover the woodland in one direction (10 minutes walk) and some moorland in the opposite direction (10 minutes walk).

Having had a really crap 2013 I was really looking forward to 2014 and a New Year, new start. It got off with a bang, one that woke me up at midnight. I hate New Year's Eve so went to bed early. The bang wasn't fireworks but thunder, lightning and the heaviest rain I have known, right on the stroke of midnight. The weather all day was manky and stayed like it for 72 hours.

The 4th was great. No wind, sun was shining, Two Song Thrush were singing against each other in the churchyard that backed onto my woodland patch. Jackdaws were pairing up snapping twigs off, GS Woodpecker drumming and the Tit's were tuning up. Things were beginning to happen. A pair of Great Tit prospected a natural cavity. Perfect place for a 28mm Tit box! It lasted a day.....

Rotten weather was back again on the 5th meaning nothing to do until the 11th when I was able to get a dozen boxes erected. Song Thrushes still singing, Tit's getting more vocal. Passer's by that were few and far between seemed to be showing genuine interest in what I was doing. Once again, a one day wonder, crap weather again from the 12t oh no not the 12th....

The 12th January my fate as a local area nester was sealed. Any lingering doubts about whether I should be nesting locally or 6 mile away on the coast were confirmed - the gearbox on my car packed up! Faced with a bill of up to £800 I decided to make some money by - scrapping it, claiming my 10 months outstanding tax back, saving petrol, saving insurance and saving MOT. Job done, no car, cycle or walk for nesting. How green is that?!!

The 14th was memorable - my first Barn Owl sighting for 14 months!

The 17th saw me put up the final two Tit boxes in the first section of woodland leaving me with another 10 to put up this Saturday in the second area.

This morning I heard my first singing Blackbird of the year, this one in Falmouth

So there we are - 2014 so far is going well.....  Now where's Stuart.......


  1. A great catch up post Simon! It sounds like you are carrying out some worthwhile and fun work! Glad to hear that passers by are interested in the scheme :)

  2. Thanks Lou - it is nice when passer's by show an interest rather than having their heads down on a route march