Thursday, 7 June 2012

On a Mission.

This is my fifth year at Barbondale of being involved with a nest box scheme jointly with John Wilson directed in the main to the Pied Flycatcher (PF) which until now I've keep quiet about based mainly on the popularity of the area, but also the privacy of the land I refer to where permission obviously had to be obtained to erect the nest boxes in the first place. In this regard I have always been of the opinion that the least said about this the better. Whilst I don't particularly like being in a position to dictate....'do what I say, not what I do'....I'm sure it is appreciated that being on private property the scheme would be in jeopardy if anyone was found to be trespassing in the name of obtaining a photograph, or to take a closer look at the boxes and their content if that was the case.

All of this said, I think there is nothing more to be gained in the silence as lots of birders/photographers/or just visitors to the area will by now know - or have seen for themselves -  some of the nest boxes from the path, and I can only now trust that we can all keep to some sort of code of conduct to the advantage not only of the birds, but also the delicate balance between the private land they occupy which is below an accessible footpath, to this end I can share the success story of Barbondale and its PF's, the full story of which I'll post at some later date, meanwhile, back to today's 'Mission'.      

Since 30 April I've made five visits this year to Barbondale that has slowly built up over the weeks to today's findings which has seen the continuation of what I can only hope will be the success story of 2012 for the Pied Flycatchers of Barbondale, an area of old woodland which held  few - if any - of the species in the recent past, though I don't pretend to know the full history in this regard. 

On my last visit I was able to establish that ten PF's were in the woods this year representing five pairs, four of which had a nest with seven eggs with the fifth nest holding a female sitting tight which I was not prepared to disturb. Today it was found that the five nests held a combination of eggs and recently hatched naked young, add to this the excitement of finding two female which were ringed of which was one was found to be an adult female ringed last year which has returned to Barbondale to breed once again as a two year old bird at least, more excitement was in the fact that this bird was ringed here on the very same date as this recapture today 7 June.....To be continued.

With all this going on today I had little time to do any birding but did note, c.14 House Martin which surprised me, if these birds were not from a decent colony at the farm here I can only assume they were on a feeding mission, also a few Swift over, up to 4 Redstart males, a Spotted Flycatcher, Dipper, Nuthatch, and a Great-spotted Woodpecker. Opportune feeding behaviour was noted on Barbon Beck again today as on 18 May with Pied Flycatcher, Redstart, Meadow Pipit, Chaffinch, Wren, Reed Bunting all taking advantage of insects available on the stream as opposed to insects not available elsewhere, JW and I both agreed on this.

And finally, well we do have to have a couple of pics don't we, five actually.... 

Sanderling. Peter Guy.

First the Sanderling at Rossall Point, hard to believe the epic journey to its high Arctic breeding grounds this small wader will be about to undertake anytime soon.

Wood Sandpiper Antonio Puigg

And another wader the Wood Sandpiper. Will this bird be going to breed in northern Europe, or perhaps in the Scottish Highlands where the flooding of some previously drained traditional marshes may start to help this species in the future.

Roller Antonio Puigg

A Roller present at Aldbrough in East Yorkshire for several days now has dearly tempted me to become a 'twitcher' for the day, but I haven't yet succumbed....some bird.

Thanks to PG/AP for the photographs, much appreciated.  


Warren Baker said...

Oh go on pete, go see the Roller, you know you want to! :-)

Great news on the Pied Fly's there, hopefully one will pass though here on it's way back south this Autumn!

news said...

Hi Pete. Congratulations to you & Jw on the success of your nest box scheme well worth all the trouble JWB.

Pete Woodruff said...

Warren....I understand what motivates birder to twitch but rarely do it myself. The weather MUST improve for these breeding birds to have any chance of success,

John....The best year yet for the PF's at Barbondale. Hope we are able to get out again soon. Best Wishes John.