Wednesday, 5 August 2015

It's getting late for ringing swifts

On Monday (3rd August) I popped down to a site at Lee-on-the-Solent to ring some Common Swift Apus apus chicks. You may recall the story from last year, but if not that post is here. You may notice that it is nearly six weeks later than the broods I ringed last year, and that is the result of some quite bizarre events. 

I had received the text from Mark, the house owner, back in June telling me that he again had a brood and that they had laid two eggs, and were happily incubating. But on 20 days things went a bit pear-shaped, when what was presumed to be a bird from a different pair entered the box. A scuffle ensued, during which the eggs were displaced from the cup, both birds then left the box. Mark quickly grabbed his ladder and put the eggs back in the cup and before long a bird returned and began incubating. He thought that things were back on track, but then the incubating bird got a bit agitated and kicked the eggs out from under it, breaking one of the shells....all was lost he thought.

Common Swift nestling

Amazingly, the pair or another then relaid, incubated the full term and now have chicks that are three weeks old, so we decided to go ahead a ring them. Two healthy chicks were ringed, one weighing 45 grams and the other 50. Typically swifts fledge after a 22 day incubation period and a 47 day nestling period, which suggests that these chicks will not fledge the nest for another three weeks yet, the latter part of August, by which time they would normally have left the country. It will be interesting to see how these birds fair, and fortunately with the camera in the nest box at Mark's house we will be able to keep an eye on them.

Common Swift nestling

On the way home a made a quick detour to the Haven and bumped into Dan Houghton. There were a few bits a bobs around, the most notable being the 3cy Yellow-legged Gull that has been hanging around for a while, 2 Common Scoter and 48 Mediterranean Gulls of various ages. 

Industrial view of Fawley Oil Refinery from Hill Head

1 comment:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...