And we’re off!

Monday, January 22nd 2018

After weeks of setting the duck trap by the lake we finally had our first Foxglove moorhen of 2018!

After having no success with the duck trap over the last couple of weeks action was required; in the end all it took was a slight opening out of the entrance to the trap and voilà!

This lovely female moorhen was the first to be ringed at Foxglove in over a year, and had not been ringed previously. The only external characteristic that can be used to differentiate between male and female moorhens is wing length; this female had a wing length of 177mm, well below the 190mm threshold that would suggest the bird was male. 

We were able to determine that she had hatched before the last calendar year due to the size of the culmen-shield; the extended red coloured upper margin of the beak between her eyes.  

For the most part she was very well behaved, although Tony was right to warn me about her talons as she did get me once or twice, and boy are they sharp!

Aside from the exciting goings on at the Lake and inside the Ringing Room I was once again pulling along my little red sled most of the day, this time laden with tools, not seeds, as I went looking for nest boxes and net ride poles to fix and replace.

Many of the nest boxes on our list had been taken over by wasps, which were easy enough to deal with. There were also a number of boxes requiring waterproofing upgrades in preperation for the 2018 nesting season.

All but one of the boxes were easily fixed in situ, however number 12 had to come in for a major over haul.

Thankfully number 12 is now fixed and ready to go back out on the same tree, and as it was only the lid and back board of the box that needed replacing I'm hopeful that it will remain tempting.

On my travels I also came across a number of trees down by Risedale Beck with amazing cavities and ivy coverage; here's to hoping that the bats know about them!


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