A Busy Time

Monday, June 17th 2013

Spring just turning into summer is a busy time for the reserve managers and volunteers. The winter habitat management is complete (although the list for this coming winter is being compiled and getting longer!!) and summer strimming,' loppering' and 'secateuring' has taken its place.  Volunteers have been drain finding and clearing. The bird ringers really appreciate being able to check the garden net without being knee deep in wet clay!  Boardwalks in the wetter areas have also made access much easier.  Thank you to everyone who nearly lost their wellies and ended up being thoroughly muddy.  Other activities include CES, school parties, guided walks, meeting and greeting visitors - many who are new to the reserve.

The bird ringing team continue to check nest boxes and ring chicks at Foxglove and on the surrounding training area.  They found this Ring Ouzel nest yesterday and hope to return to ring the chicks later in the week.

Ring Ouzel nest

Kestrel numbers are decreasing and so it was good to find a nest with healthy chicks.  Their numbers have taken a real dive over the past 5 years and are at an all time low locally. Not quite as cute and cuddly as owlets either!

Kestrel nest

Usually CES day 5 (today) sees increasing numbers of juvenile birds handled in the ringing room.  However it is noticeable from the results of checking boxes that many young will not fledge for several more days.  The breeding season is very late this year.  Juvenile Robins and Nuthatches did make an appearance but the numbers caught today were the lowest in 21 years for mid June.

Juvenile Robin

Ringers returning from their net rounds complained that a Sedge Warbler was sitting in a Hawthorn Tree laughing at them and going nowhere near the nets.  Towards the end of the day though success; the bird was brought to the ringing room.  As it was carefully being processed and the ring number recorded it was found to be wearing a French ring from the Paris ringing scheme.  Just where it was ringed originally we do not know but will find out.  It was certainly not ringed anywhere in the UK. This is the first time a bird wearing a French ring has visited Foxglove!

A 'French' Sedge Warbler

It must not be forgotten that this time of year also sees flowers bursting into bloom.  May blossom is covering the Hawthorns.  Hopefully there will be plenty of berries this autumn.

May Blossom

As part of our record keeping the first and last dates of butterfly sightings are recorded.  Today it was the turn of the Small Copper to be photgraphed.

Small Copper

There were many damselflies to be seen and a possible sighting of a female Four Spotted Chaser in the Bogbean pond in the Scrapes.  A Cuckoo was heard first thing this morning. In the afternoon the House Martins were hunting insects over the wetland ponds.  Swifts were flying high over the Scrapes but not as high as the Buzzard that soared above them.

Many thanks to the reserve managers and volunteers who work so hard to keep Foxglove in such excellent condition and achieve so much.

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