The weather was again wet and miserable this morning to the point where I stayed in to do inside jobs. Those that know me well will be a little surprised but perhaps for the first time this year I felt it wasn't worth going out. Late morning saw a small flock of ca5 Crossbills circling gardens at Hanging Houghton, but they didn't linger in the rain and headed off south. With more pleasant conditions early this afternoon, we took a hike around the Blueberry Farm complex. Reasonable numbers of common grassland butterflies were taking the opportunity of flying in warm conditions and included good numbers of Small Heath and Small Skipper. There was nothing unusual birdwise albeit that the resident mostly white Common Buzzard showed well. This bird has been around for a good number of years now and is believed to be a female. Common Buzzards showing a great deal of white are common-place but this bird exhibits a startling white plumage and interestingly a white upper tail and dark terminal band (which tends to become almost rufous when worn) and has been claimed as quite a variety of raptors! It's not rare but I always enjoy admiring her.
The weather this year is clearly affecting our birds considerably and although there are always winners and losers, to my mind this is the worst breeding year for local birds that I can remember. A Constant Effort ringing session at Pitsford in the week succeeded in catching just 29 birds, the lowest ever at this time in the proceedings. The normal catch would generally be somewhere between 65 - 120 birds! The CES process endeavours to try and duplicate every session in terms of amount of time mist nets are erected and placed in the same way on every occasion and is generally recognised as a particularly strong indicator of trends and population dynamics. Still a few more sessions to go yet but its looking particularly bad for the tits this year.
N & E