Thursday, June 23, 2011

Are You Joking?

Another poor weather, windy, cloudy and showery morning meant no mist netting or actual birding, so I prioritised checking a few nests later in the day with hopes of a spot of casual birding. The result is that the blog is pretty sparse again today, but hopefully everyone will firstly enjoy a chuckle at an Over Wyre joke.

There are landowners with reason to dislike folk who take to the countryside with no understanding or respect for the Countryside Code. Consequently the same landowners tend to mistrust everyone who ventures into their domain, but when I came across this sign on my travels today I couldn’t quite decide if the message was serious or simply a left over from April Fool’s day. So after having a little laugh I went off in the opposite direction, to check out my Tree Sparrow boxes and Swallow nests, making sure that I closed each gate behind me.


At Out Rawcliffe two Tree Sparrows nests each had 4 young of an ideal size to ring with two other boxes having 5 warm eggs. The adults weren’t at home; they almost never are, vacating the box well in advance of any intruders then keeping a safe distance away. The Tree Sparrow chicks at this age look a little like the adults.

Tree Sparrow

Tree Sparrow

There was mixed success at Hambleton for the Swallows with 2 nests of chicks ready for ringing but one had four youngsters only, below expected par of five with the second one having only two youngsters with a dead one that had expired three or four days ago judging by the size of its healthy siblings. It is fairly unusual to find a dead Swallow chick in a nest, and as this nest had only three chicks to begin with, this underperforming nest might be explained by inexperienced adults, or probably more accurately as a “don’t know” reason. A third nest contained young still too small to ring despite my notebook’s pencilled in date, but a fourth one last noted as “nest fully lined” on 18th June now had five warm eggs whereby the adults had been busy. I checked the chicken shed for a second laying in a recently fledged nest and although there were no new eggs, a recently fledged youngster was too slow to find the exit door.



Down the puddled lane to the farm were several Whitethroats, 2 Yellowhammer, 10 Goldfinch and 8 Linnet.


What isn’t a joke is the continuous bad weather of the last six weeks, but the BBC have promised warm, even hot weather for next week. Goodness knows we are due a decent spell so I hope they are not pulling our collective legs.


Pete Woodruff said...

As interesting as ever Phil, and the notice on the gate....well!

Lancashire and Lakeland Outback Adventure Wildlife Safaris said...

You'd think with farmers having so many of them and having to fill in all those forms about them they'd be able to spell field correctly ;)



grammie g said...

Hey Phil...that sign is a little weird ...if that was around here I surely would not go in or out...might just hear a gun shot ring in the air or have the local police pay you a visit for trespassing!!
Not to many places around that you can just wonder onto someones property over here!!
Sorry you have stinky weather...hope you can get out there and get all those little guys ringed!!
I have 3 nest boxes full of baby Swallows justa "rocking and rolling" and should fledge any day !!

Kay L. Davies said...

Yet another thunderstorm happening here even as I type, Phil. Unseasonable weather everywhere, it seems, and I'm heading out for the wet west coast. I might not be able to comment for a couple of days, Saturday and Sunday (in Canada) but as of Monday I'll have my brother's computer all to myself for a week, and try to catch up.
— K

Kay, Alberta, Canada
An Unfittie's Guide to Adventurous Travel

Gallicissa said...

Lovely Tree Sparrow chick. I too hope your English weather will improve during the One Day series. 'Cos we are going to thrash you in that.

Mary Howell Cromer said...

The sign did give me my first smile of the early day. Of course by now everyone knows that Swallows are one of my favorite birds and for you to get so close, to handle them, to check in on them, must be so very special. Your comments about the inexperienced adults, sounds right on~

Gallicissa said...

I told ya!

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