A busy month since the last post, lots of birds are now busy nesting on the farm and at least one brood of Robins have fledged chicks. Next week will see the halfway point of the common bird monitoring on the farm which will eventually allow us to work out population estimates for all species holding territory on the farm.
Most of the migrants have now returned for the summer and the hedgerows are currently alive with the songs of both Lesser and Common Whitethroats, whilst Swallows are inspecting the barns for suitable nest sites. We have been lucky to witness the passge of several interesting species through the farm in the past month with marsh harrier, 10+ Wheatears (a flock of 6 on one day), Whinchat and most impressively another female Ring Ouzel (6th May) . The first purring Turtle Dove was also heard this morning, a great sound of summertime.
Around the farm we have a series of Starling nestboxes which are monitored on a regular basis to determine breeding success. All the nestlings are fitted with conventional metal rings an 3 different colour rings, so we can identify individual birds in the population. This week we ringed over 50 nestlings from 12 boxes, we take various measurments to give an assesment of the condition of the birds. We will visit the boxes again in a few days time and take repaeat measurements, so we can determine growth rates of these birds over the period of a week. Attached is a photo of a 6-7 day old Starling chick.