|Northern Lapwing Chick, the first of two caught|
|Northern Lapwing chick hiding in the tall vegetation|
|Northern Lapwing chick being weighed|
The second chick was considerably smaller, in fact half the weight of the first and was probably around a week old. Given the size difference between these two birds I suspect they were from two different broods, which would suggest there were more chicks out there for the taking, unfortunately we didn’t find any. There were five adult birds at the site, so one may have been still incubating, so it will certainly be worth another visit.
|The smaller of the two Northern Lapwing chicks|
Our next stop was a site in Gosport, where Chris has a load of nest boxes up. There were approximately 15 boxes to check, assuming they hadn’t been destroyed by the resident Grey Squirrel population. We had mixed success, the first two boxes were full of Blue Tits, with broods of 12 and 11, several other broods were either too small or were yet to hatch. A couple of treecreeper boxes had eggs in, but they didn’t look like this years, and more Blue Tits and a broods of Great Tits were in a couple of others. One box had a female Nuthatch on eggs which was a shame, as they may well have fledged by the time I get back from my break. Whilst walking around the site we stumbled across a young Roe Deer fawn that had been left at the base of the trunk of a tree. I stayed dead still in the hope that we wouldn’t see it….but we did!
|Young Roe Deer|
Rob joined me on the next session. This time we started at Manor farm Country Park before moving on to the Hampshire and Isle Wight Wildlife Trusts Swanwick Lakes reserve. There were two boxes at Manor Farm, both with Great Tits and an incomplete clutch of eggs in a Blackbird nest. At Swanwick our first port of call was a box where Rob had seen some Nuthatch’s previously. This time we were in luck and a brood of seven were at an ideal size for ringing.
|Brood of Seven Nuthatches in Nestbox|
I always think that Nuthatch’s are hard core, since the don’t bother with all the most and feathers the Blue and Great Tits use when building a nest, a few leaves in the bottom of the box seems to suffice. These images clearly show the the strong bill, grey upper parts and pinkish underparts, no mistaking what they are going to grow up to be.
|A Handful of Nuthatches|
There were over 20 boxes at Swanwick and the boxes had good numbers of Blue and Great Tit clutches, some too small to ring and some still on eggs, but by the end of the weekend we had ringed 100 chicks, 61 Blue Tits, 30 Great Tits, seven Nuthatches and two Lapwing. I am hoping that when I get back there will still be some birds in boxes plus it will be time to check the Barn Owls, Kestrels and Swallows.