Thursday, 2 June 2016

Flaming June it isn't...


Birds of specific interest today were reduced to a hunting Barn Owl braving the cold wind at Blueberry Farm and the injured but bright Ruddy Shelduck joining the non-breeding goose flock in the grounds of the Sailing Club at Pitsford Reservoir this evening.

This weather is sadly producing many avian casualties including several Swifts flying low and colliding with moving traffic on the road causeway at Pitsford, and many nestlings will be succumbing to cold and hunger in these conditions as many parents struggle to find sufficient insect and caterpillar food. It is likely that tits which are nesting in or close to bird-feeding gardens stand a better chance of keeping their nestlings alive by supplementing insects with fat, peanut granules and similar. This sustenance tends to lack the nutrition to aid healthy growth but may keep them alive long enough for a hopeful reprieve in the weather and natural food availability by the week-end.

Dave Francis was out checking the tern rafts at Pitsford Reservoir today on what must have felt almost like the high seas and counted 32 Common Tern nests which is good news. All are at the egg stage so this weather won't affect them unless the adults allow the eggs to chill.

News has come through of the original ringing details of the dead Barn Owl found near Walgrave on 6th May 2016. This bird didn't live long enough to breed - it was ringed as a nestling at Yelvertoft on 31st July 2015, some 23km to the west, meeting it's peril following a traffic collision 280 days later...

Checking ring numbers of Swallows processed during the ringing session at Brixworth yesterday, we realise now that one of the controls was actually of a nestling ringed by Chris Payne in a Greens Norton nest on 23rd June last year. Looks like it might have changed its post code address but not by much!

If anyone would like to be inspired by what I consider to a very good blog-site, I would recommend visiting The Skokholm Blog which successfully records the trials and tribulations of a significant bird and tiny human community on the little island of Skokholm off the Pembrokeshire coast...


Neil M

When the water is this rough at Pitsford
you never know what might turn up!
Luckily Dave Francis had his camera with him today...

...but sadly took this photograph somewhere in
the South Atlantic a few years ago!

The image depicts a Black-browed Albatross, the
mostly likely species to be espied in Western Europe.
Very relevant following our presentation by David
Ogombar at the Northants Bird Club last night
entitled 'Hooked on Albatrosses'.

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