Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Cutting and ringing

We spent much of today snipping Hawthorn regrowth off in an area of limestone grassland, the reason we needed to do this was because there were not enough sheep in the field grazing last summer.
We had previously cut down mature Hawthorn trees as they were shading out the wildflowers, the sheep which will usually eat the shoots as they re-grow whilst they are soft were in too few numbers, this allowed the shoots to become woody and tough and therefore unpalatable. Now that they have been re-cut we need to keep plenty of sheep in the field so that it doesn't happen again, lesson learned! The sheep will eat a few of the flowers but certainly not all of them, it is worth losing a very small percentage of the flowers this year for the overall good of the grassland long term.

Volunteers John and Rob doing what the sheep didn't!
This evening i joined Stuart from Chelmarsh Bird Ringers as he checked the progress of some bird box occupants. He ringed the chicks from some of the boxes as they were about 8 days old whilst others he will have to re-visit in a few days as the chicks were still too small. Clutch size appears to be a little smaller than last Spring with 8 eggs being about average, last year it was more like 10.
Please do not look in bird boxes at this time of year, you need special training and a licence. The pictures below aren't great as i didn't want to mess about too long and disturb the birds.
Blue Tit sitting on 6 chicks in the box next to the bird hide.

6 Nuthatches nearly big enough to be ringed.

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