Sunday, 5 June 2011

Crow trouble

For the last few weeks we've been finding increasing numbers of broken birds' eggs on the track by The Shunan. At first I thought it was adult waders disposing of hatched eggs but as it went on I began to think that was an unlikely explanation. Today there were about five or six new eggs on the track. The culprits are nesting in the nearby hawthorn hedge.

Hooded Crows

Returning from working Sooth it takes me a while to get back into understanding what has happened to various broods of duck and waders. The Shelduck pair on The Shunan are down to five from eight, I wonder if the ongoing territorial battles with a second pair; and sometimes a third pair as well, might have anything to do with these losses. The Curlew, Oysercatcher and Redshank pairs around The Shunan appear to have young. There are increasing numbers of failed Oysetercatchers and Lapwings gathering there now though.

I've rather neglected the Arctic Terns at Birsay this year so rather than racing off East in the hope of Orcas I went to Skipi Geo. A sadly quiet place greeted me, at first I thought they had all left but I eventually found two sitting birds. Hopefully the others have gone off to breed somewhere else. The small inland colony that was relatively successful last year seems to have established elsewhere, and although terns are coming in to feed I'm pretty certain they're not breeding at Bosquoy.

A Siskin flew in briefly on Friday at lunchtime, a rather uncommon visitor this year. On Saturday a Willow Warbler sang a line or two of its enigmatic song in the garden before heading off north and a few minutes later I found a Chiffchaff singing just beyond the garden. First records from the garden for the year of these two species. A warbler trio was required so having located a Sedge Warbler down by The Shunan I waited patiently with the telescope trained on the spot and sure enough the scratchy songster obliged with a song flight. Today a Redpoll sp flew over at lunch time and later a Tree Sparrow was again under the feeders. A little later I got onto a Tree Sparrow flying south out of the garden and it headed for a possible nest site, further investigation is required. I'm not sure if Tree Sparrow has ever nested in Orkney previously, so I'll need to make a bit of an effort to track them down.

I set the moth trap last night and caught... no moths. It was a bit cold. At the moment there is very little time at night when it is particularly dark, that won't help.

The new bit of meadow we began to try and establish last year is beginning to look quite good. Some pictures of Red Campion and Cow Parsley too.


Nick Carter said...

If it turns out your Tree Sparrows are nesting i recommend putting some boxes up, weve got some up at the farm we stay on at Flam and they are very sucessful.

Alastair said...

I'll do that for next year, I have the very spot.