On Thursday morning (12th), Dave Francis conducted a CES ringing session at Pitsford Reservoir based in the Scaldwell Bay. Juvenile birds were to be expected and included Long-tailed Tits, Blackcap and Chiffchaff. A re-trap Sparrowhawk livened up proceedings! More juvenile Robins ensured that Dave has now trapped twenty of these yellow-spotted youngsters here this spring, confirming a good early season for them. The impression is that adult warblers are not hitting the mist nets in any numbers, albeit that there seem to be reasonable numbers singing in the bushes.
Other birds caught included a couple of Marsh Tits, Treecreeper and Bullfinch. Over a thousand birds have been ringed at Pitsford Reservoir this year, about half of them being young tit nestlings ringed in the nest-boxes. Earlier ringing in the year at the feed station site at the Old Scaldwell Road provided captures of 71 Yellowhammers and 40 Tree Sparrows.
It is hoped over the week-end to again visit the floating tern rafts in the Scaldwell Bay to count the Common Tern nests and ring any youngsters. Black-headed Gulls are also attempting to nest on these structures this year. A trail camera positioned on a raft may provide some answers as to what may predate eggs/youngsters.
Other news from Pitsford indicates that the spring moths enjoyed a very good season but the early summer moths are not being found in high numbers. A Blossom Underwing observed on the reserve in April was a new species for the site. Sarah and Mischa will be hosting a moth event on 4th July 2014 in line with the National Moth Night, commencing at 9pm. This is planned to take place at the end of the Old Scaldwell Road next to Maytrees Hide and if you would like to attend, please let Mischa or Sarah know.
Yesterday (13th), Helen Franklin and I spent some time near Woodford Halse checking Swallow nests in a stable complex. We managed to ring three young Swallows in one nest and catch six adults also for ringing purposes. A brood of Pied Wagtail was also ringed. Birds present in the near vicinity included Little Owl, Hobby, Tree Sparrow and Spotted Flycatcher. Just over the border in Priors Marston we checked on a Spotted Flycatcher nest which contained young with two proud adults in attendance.
A Polecat lying in the middle of the road isn't a particularly unusual sight in the county these days, albeit that this animal's nocturnal activities prevent most of us from seeing much of them bouncing around. Yesterday morning one had been hit on the road between Daventry and Buckby Wharf, but to my surprise when I stopped to have a closer look it managed to right itself and hopped, skipped and jumped in to the roadside hedge!
For the butterfly enthusiasts, Black Hairstreaks were on the wing yesterday at Glapthorne Cow Pasture (Wildlife Trust reserve near Oundle). Neil Hasdell has kindly provided an image (please see below), and a Nightingale was still audible there. In addition, please also see a couple of images below from Nick Wood when he discovered a brood of Nuthatch in one of his nest-boxes at Chase Park Farm recently...