Feathers and Scales

Hook Heath Stream

Hook Heath Stream

Yet another surveying Wednesday (as they are now known) has been and gone. Today however was slightly different. It was an early start heading out to Hook Heath to carry out a breeding bird survey. At first it was pretty daunting with bird song coming from every angle combining into something that sounded like handfuls of musicians all playing their separate songs at once.

Interesting sightings were Tree creeper with some nesting material, two Green woodpeckers and a Mandarin duck.

Spot the Mandarin

Spot the Mandarin

Shortly after, I cracked on with the butterfly transect. It was the usual selection of whites, brimstones and peacocks. A noticeable difference was the Orange-tips are now starting to decrease in numbers while the Green-veined whites are increasing.

Green-veined White

Green-veined White

Down at Farlington the tidal flap has been having issues, leaking seawater into the lake. The main flap which should open to let fresh water out of the lake at low water and keep sea water out at high water has fallen off allowing sea water to freely flow under the sea wall. The Environment Agency has made a quick fix with boards until they can have a proper look on Friday. Fingers crossed everything will be back to normal soon.

Farlington Lake (with new fencing)

Farlington Lake (with new fencing)

Its not all doom and gloom; recently Farlington has had an influx of Wheatear. Here is a photo of one of the many that sit on the fence posts of the main track from the building.

Wheatear

Wheatear

And finally on Monday evening we carried out some nest box checks at Swanwick. We put rings on all the suitable aged chicks we found in the boxes. These ranged from Great tits to Nuthatches. The boxes, however, were not just inhabited by birds. Two were home to a family of woodmice and, slightly less friendly, a nest of tree bumblebees. If you’re walking around Swanwick in the near future please keep an eye out for birds with rings on their right legs.

Handful of Nuthatch chicks (photo - Trevor Codlin)

Handful of Nuthatch chicks (photo – Trevor Codlin)

Tomorrow we are off to the islands of Langstone harbour to look at the nesting seabirds. Forecast looks great so fingers crossed for a good day.

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