Small Nest Box Time

Sunday, May 28th 2023

The Swaledale Ringing Group have been out checking the small nest boxes both in Foxglove and out on the wider training area.  It is very apparent that the nests vary from adults still sitting on eggs to some chicks almost ready to fledge. 

The blue eggs belong to a Pied Flycatcher but Redstart eggs are pretty much the same in size and colour.  The difference is in the nests ... Pied Flycatchers use dead leaves, grass, moss and lichens but Redsrarts use dead grass, moss, wool, hair and feathers. Leaves are a big clue as to the bird.

In the same wood as the Pied Flycatcher a retrapped Blue Tit that was ringed as an adult in 2021 was incubating her eggs in a similar place this year. Also caught was retrapped adult Pied Flycatcher which was ringed as a chick in the same area in 2022.

In the nest boxes was the Long-eared Bat. You can just see part of his 'long ear' sticking out.

One of the bird ringers is also licensed to check and rehabilitate injured bats.  This is a Long-eared Bat wide awake.  Its ears can be seen very clearly!

Some larger boxes on the training area, needed to be returned to, to ring the chicks, having been checked with a camera earlier.  This was a nest with five Barn Owl chicks.  You can see the difference in size between the chicks.

Some of the boxes at Foxglove are not in the easiet of places and over the years trees, shrubs, brambles and general vegetaion have grown, a lot, making it even more difficult.  A ditch with water and a couple of steep banks initially separated the bird ringers from this box!

And then there is always a surprise.  Thankfully it upended before the nesting season.

A huge thank you to all the bird ringers who work extremely hard at this time of year, to gatehr the data which is sent to the BTO.  Thank you to everyone who has sent me photographs.


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Access to the Reserve: OPEN with limited access

Monday 18th March 2024 |

The reserve is now open, although again with limited access.

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