Poor old Gilbert is getting restless. Despite the fact that there is more interest in wildlife than ever before, it seems that most of the so-called conservation organisations are losing interest in species. Instead they prefer to babble on about landscape scale conservation and ecosystem services (whatever they are). Could this be because most of their staff don't have any knowledge about species if they don't have four legs?
This is my attempt to encourage an interest in good old-fashioned natural history.

Sunday, 9 June 2013

Wood Warbler update

Took a couple of days leave to try to get to grips with what all the Wood Warblers were up to. They are still proving to be really hard work but the most remarkable thing is that I still haven't lost any to predation. In 2011 they did ok at the egg stage but got hammered at the nestling stage then in 2012 they got hammered from day one.

New nests found in the last few days are 'Skydiver' (named because the female parachutes down to the nest from high up, rather than dropping from a low perch) which had 6 eggs when found on Friday; 'Three time loser' (in a territory where the pair last year tried three times and never got as far as the eggs hatching) which had 5 young about 9-10 days old yesterday, they only need to survive another 3 or 4 days and they'll have made it; 'The Druggy' (named because the males song is so weird he must be on drugs! I saw him in early May and thought his bizarre song may have been because he'd just arrived and needed a bit of practice. I went to check what he was up to and sat there for a couple of minutes before I started thinking 'I wonder what that strange bird singing down the slope is', then 'it can't be that Wood Warbler can it'. It was, but that shows just how odd it is - even when you know you're looking for an odd sounding bird you still don't realise what it is. The best I can describe it is like a cross between and Great Tit and a Coal Tit, possibly with a bit of Marsh Tit thrown in for good measure.

I'm amazed that he's managed to attract a mate, and a mate of the correct species as well! Anyway, she had 6 young, just hatched.

Today has been singularly unproductive. I found one new colour ringed bird; the male from 'Christmas nest' last year - one of the last of the year and one of the very few that was actually successful. I remember he gave us a real run around before Alice finally found the nest, well he hasn't changed his habits as I spent over an hour watching him and got absolutely nowhere! Otherwise there was a lot of walking around searching for new birds (none found), outing out my last nest cameras on Hawfinch wood, Bridge and Three Time Loser nests and colour ringing the adults at Three Time Loser and Fir Twig Tent nests.

Gilbert's brother came to the Forest today to photograph various birds. As well as getting the superb Wood Warbler images above, he visited the Redstart nest and got the following images.

The bird of the day for him though was the Woodcock below that we saw at the side of the road early in the morning. By the time we had gone and got his camera it had moved further back and became rather uncooperative but he still managed to snatch the following image - well worth the early start and the best views I've had since another bird by the roadside in Scotland about 10 years ago.

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