Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Captains Wood & Trimley marshes

Barn Owls have bred for the first time in a box in the large Oak on Blackwalks.  Two chicks were ringed today.
Almost fully fledged

Returning the two chicks back into the box

At Trimley Anna and I ringed three more Barn Owl chicks in the Barn.  We also ringed seven Lesser Black-backed Gulls on the rafts.  One of the rafts had 14 Black-headed Gull nests, which all had eggs.
Anna ringing one of the gull chicks

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Ipswich Airport

I was surveying the Ipswich airport site this morning for breeding Skylarks.  Much of the site has either been developed or the habitat required by Skylarks has changed.  Numbers have declined significantly, by 84% over the last thirteen years in fact.  However, a portion of the old airport site, which has been designated a County Wildlife Site, is holding on to about eight pairs.  This morning I counted 23 Skylarks there.  The site is being managed by the Borough's rangers.  I also had a grass snake on one of the reptile habitat piles.  There was also a Black Redstart singing, a scarce breeding bird in Britain.  I hope the developers erect nesting boxes in suitable locations for these beautiful birds.

Young Skylark (Ipswich airport 26.06.2012)

Friday, 22 June 2012

Trimley Marshes

On the reserve at the moment we have a few more Lapwing chicks about to reach the flying stage and the Redshank chicks are not far behind.

On the reserve this week we have had summer plumaged Spotted Redshanks and a lovely black and white Ruff.  Other birds showing well are Buzzards and Lesser Black-backed Gulls with chicks on the rafts.

Conservation Notes

Now the "Sporting" fraternity wants to shoot more Cormorants and Goosanders.

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Newbourne Springs

For weeks we have been seeing Barn Owls hunting at Newbourne during our early morning ringing sessions.  Today I checked the BO box and to my surprise there were two chicks at the fledging stage.

Anna and her ringed Barn Owl

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

American Holiday

I’ve just recently had a lovely holiday with my wife in the US.  A week in Nashville for country music at the Ryman and the Grand Ole Opry and of course on Broadway where country musicians are in the bars all day long and into the early hours of the morning.  Little Jimmy Dickens is still entertaining at the young old age of 92 however; our favourite on this visit was Alison Krauss.

I had one day at Radnor Lake with my birding pal Jan where we saw over fifty species, which included four more lifers for me; American Black Duck, Black-billed Cuckoo, Mourning Warbler and Bay-breasted Warbler.  Birding was excellent, the lake held several pairs of Wood Duck with ducklings and the woodlands were rich in birdlife with Pileated and Red-bellied Woodpeckers and colourful warblers.  I also had excellent views of a Barred Owl – thanks Jan.

 Our second week at Niagara falls was very relaxing.
Nashville skyline and Cumberland river

Legends Corner

Niagara Falls view from our hotel room
Wood Duck

Eastern Kingbird

Red-winged Blackbird
Barred Owl
Eastern Chipmunk
Grey Squirrel mutation

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Trimley Marshes

The Trimley Round Up Number 8     June 4th –June 11th   
By (Anna Alam)

 The past few days have been wild, windy and very wet on the reserve and yet again we are back to driving rain, which certainly was the case on Monday 11th.  This didn’t stop the mid week volunteers Mike Margaret and John T with important maintenance work.  However, by 11am Mike and John returned to the visitors centre drenched followed by Mick and Margaret even more dripping. There were a couple of baby rabbits just outside looking very wet and completely fed up with the conditions!

Early this morning we saw the Barn owl hunting along the sea wall, making the most of a clear window in the weather, hopefully a sign that the chicks are being fed well.  A little later the majestic Male Marsh Harrier was also giving us a lovely display.

This past week we have seen highs and lows on the reserve.  On the summer flood there are at least 2 if not 3 Lapwing chicks looking very good in their juvenile plumage.  Sightings this week have included:  2 Little Egrets, Water Rail and a Hobby.   Black tailed Godwits are still appearing in good numbers and look very vibrant in their summer plumage. They really are lovely birds to look at. Redshank and Greenshank are also enjoying the summer flood. 2 Common Terns and 3 Little Terns have made an appearance and were seen last weekend by Dave and Ernie.

The Oystercatcher nest has been predated and sadly their eggs had totally disappeared when checked last Thursday.  A very sad sight, especially as the pair were still sitting and going back to the nest. 

Another fatality on the beach was a ‘washed up’ young Muntjac with what appeared to be injuries to its hindquarters.

A member of the public also spoke about a dog off the lead on the track leading up to Searsons farm and chasing Deer in the field.  A timely reminder that dogs should be on leads and especially at a time when ground nesting birds and other young are so vulnerable.

On a brighter note, Saturday 9th June saw lots of Swifts out feeding and there were fantastic views from the visitors centre hide.    Sedge warblers were also singing in the reeds by this hide and hopefully we may see some young ones soon. However, numbers of Sedge and Reed Warblers are still down on last year.

 We look forward to the next week and hope it may bring us some sun and warmth!

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Trimley Marshes update No. 7

The Trimley Round Up  Number 7   - 14th May – 30th May  (Anna Alam)

Summer has at last arrived at Trimley and the temperatures have increased dramatically over the last 2 weeks. Although, it has been fairly quiet we have seen some excellent birds on the reserve.

Monday 14th May.  A Wood Sandpiper was seen by Ernie and photographed by Will Brame (This super photo can be seen on BINS). The Wood Sandpiper is a fantastic little wading bird with superb summer plumage, it could still be seen as of May 30th   and its exquisite markings can be seen by binoculars but more effectively with a telescope. 

Other arrivals to the summer flood hide were 2 male Ruff in summer plumage. Up to 3 Hobbies were also noted during this week of observations.

Hundreds of Swifts are still flying over the reserve and we are making the most of their flying displays before they make their return journeys back to the African continent in July.

There have been plenty of young arrivals over the last two weeks at a time when temperatures have increased.  The Swan by the visitors centre hide has at last seen her 4 cygnets hatch.  I watched her on the 25th May when there appeared to be some movement in her nest, by Monday 28th 4 cygnets were at last in the water. There are also 2 Coot chicks in the same vicinity. Many of the Greylag broods are now off the reserve and somewhere in the safety of the estuary.

Eggs are appearing for other species:  The Kestrel has 5 lovely eggs and the Barn owl has 5 eggs and we were very privileged to observe one tiny newly hatched Barn Owl chick during the week.  Pochard also has a nest on the reserve.  The Oystercatcher on the Shingle beach has produced a clutch of 3 eggs, which is in a very vulnerable location.

Sunday 27th May we were very pleased to see a control Reed Warbler from San Sebastian, which appeared in our nets.  This could have been a bird originating from Trimley and it enables us to understand more about the complex migration routes of these lovely reed birds.

Other observations during the last 2 weeks include Little Egret, Bar-tailed and Black-tailed Godwit, Greenshank and our first Cuckoo. Whitethroat and Lesser whitethroat can also be seen and heard.

 Grass Snake, Small white Butterflies and Orange Tips and the Common Blue Damselfly are now quite common.

I would like to thank all those contributing to the Trimley records, especially, Dave, Ernie, Big John and Mark.