Monday, 28 April 2014

A game of two halves

as they apparently say in football

Took a wade around the reservoir this morning, two areas completed on Friday chucking up 7 nests with a further two possible so I was hoping for 5 or 6 this morning between Coot, Moorhen and Little Grebe. Unfortunately I just found the one Coot nest pictured below -

They can be tricky to separate from Moorhen nests if the adults are not seen leaving however with practice the size of the eggs will identify the owners. Moorhen nests are also smaller than Coot. As you can see this Coot has used sustainable locally sourced material.....

Also at the reservoir my Blackbird and Wren nests  have both been predated and my Song Thrush nest which was empty also is being recorded as outcome unknown. Unfortunately I left it a little bit long between visits and from the eggs hatching the BTO recording software gives an  estimated fledging date of yesterday so - have they fledged and I didn't see them or did they get predated. No clues in the nest really either.

My nest boxes are a different story - I now have 3 birds incubating (1 Blue and 2 Greats) 26 boxes with eggs in and probably that many again with nests in but no eggs. In the last week a further ten boxes that were empty now have nests.....

I always knew my Tits wouldn't let me down. One with 10 eggs as well....

These images are from the reservoir boxes -
3 eggs

3 eggs

3 eggs

2 eggs

5 eggs

8 eggs

Careful scrutiny of the boxes is needed - the birds will cover their eggs until incubation begins so when the lid is lifted it often appears as though nothing has been laid. By carefully feeling around the cup lining, eggs can be felt, by removing the lining they can then be counted not forgetting of course to leave it exactly as you found it.

Tits lay an egg a day however if the weather comes in bad laying can be suspended mid clutch and incubation delayed. Once a count like the above images is undertaken another count a week or so later can then determine the clutch size. Once you have clutch size going on the general rule of an egg a day you can then work out an approximate hatching date.....  

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