Saturday, 22 February 2014

Game on and cut head.......

Game on - 

Woke up this morning and the foul weather has gone, well, at least for a few hours. Clear blue skies and sunshine over Cornwall only meant one thing this morning - stuff the weekly shopping, get out to the coast. The targets - Raven and Cormorant.

No sooner had I pulled into the lay by and got out of the car then the familiar deep throated kronking noise of a Raven passing by overhead played music to my ears. 

Onto the coast path and the Fulmar as per usual were sitting on their breeding ledges doing well - nothing.

looking left towards Gwithian

The Cormorants have returned!! They are back at least 3 weeks late due to the weather but this could be a good thing. Normally in the next 10 days I would be seeing eggs however with only 3 birds back, no sign of nest building the season will be later. It takes two weeks for them to build their nests so hopefully as the young will hatch later in the year they wont take the relentless hammering of the last two years when most of the young perished in continual wet weather. The arrow points to a fantastic looking individual in it's breeding plumage (which you cant see because I don't have a proper camera!!!)  

The islet which will soon contain breeding Cormorant, Herring Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gulls and Shag

There was still a heavy sea coming in and some close up views of Gannet flying by on passage were had. A few Auks passing by as well

Raven activity was continuous with a pair skirting the coast within close proximity to me. The islet site below held a Ravens nest two years ago successfully fledging 1 chick

Another islet just a few minutes walk away from the one above produced a Raven nest last year, quite probably the same pair. The nest site indicated by the arrow fledged two chicks.

There was tremendous Raven activity this morning never going for more than a few minutes without hearing their kronking call but unfortunately nothing carrying sticks yet. The Cormorants are back, usually my first nest records, this is the start of another season monitored their nesting attempts.

Back home with no shopping and very little food in the house it was time to continue ignoring the shopping list and get some boxes up. 19 in total to go into the bottom section of Stennack Wood.

The wood is split into two sections by this trackway which is good - if it was one big wood I'm fairly confident I would lose some boxes.

The afternoon got off to a bad start and a fairly painful one at that. First of all the batteries on my GPS unit were flat so I couldn't use it. The GPS wasn't so I could find my way back home, it's to write down the grid references for the boxes. Next, whilst on the ladder putting up the first box, I pulled on some ivy to pull it off the tree to give me a clean trunk onto which to fix the box. Unfortunately high above was a stick having fallen from another tree which promptly came crashing down on top of my head!! Luckily I was able to stay on the ladder avoiding further injury - the said stick is the large one below.

It took one and a half hours to get the first four boxes up, the terrain was rather difficult and I found myself using valleys and streams as landmarks to map out the boxes. Will I find them when the streams dry up??

Having worked the middle of the wood to the bottom it was time to start coming up the outside when - more Raven excitement - Four Raven passing overhead kronking whilst a Buzzard took to the skies to watch them pass by till they no longer presented a threat.

I managed to get 13 of the small boxes up, didn't get the big Tawny Owl box up. I was intending on putting this box up last for a couple of reasons - if I fell off the ladder with this big boy and broke my back then at least all the other boxes would have been put up. Also if I did fall off and end up with a broken back my mobile phone was at home!!!!

Total nest box count now = 90

1 comment:

  1. Just in case anybody is wondering (which they wont be) I nipped to the village shop for a cauli and tin of chickpeas and made a curry for tea. Maybe shopping tomorrow.... :-(