Thursday, 14 June 2012

Apologies for not updating the blog for a while, its been a busy few weeks and unfortunately posting here was one of the things that i haven't had time to do.
Anyway i'll just give a brief summary of what we have been up to recently, then hopefully i will be able to get back to weekly posts.
We have been putting up some stock fencing along the top of Lea Quarry, the existing posts were used as they are in reasonably good condition and knocking in new ones would mean going through rock! The edges of the footpath here are wonderful places to see wildflowers, especially Orchids. We have cut some young scrub down to make fitting the fence easier and also to prevent the flowers from being shaded out. There are currently, Pyramidal, Common Spotted and Greater Butterfly Orchids visible here, there may also be Bee Orchids but i haven't seen any yet this year.
Bird boxes have been being checked by trained bird ringers, chicks are fitted with a ring on their left leg at 7 days old, this help to build up a picture of where the birds go after leaving the nest and gives detailed information about how certain species are doing. Its been a very mixed breeding season with the cold weather after the initial warm spell catching some birds out. Clutch size seems to have been lower than last year and some young birds just got too cold and died in the nest. On a brighter note there have been 4 Pied Flycatcher nests with healthy chicks all fledging, last year we had 1 nest so it looks like we have got the boxes in the right places for them now. Hopefully their number will keep rising as they have suffered recently, they actually show a preference for nest boxes over natural holes!
Swallows are currently building a nest in our shed, this will be a new nest site and is very exciting, again Swallows have suffered declines in recent years . Its hardly springwatch but i did take a photo of the nest today, it looks like the main construction in finished and it is now being lined with feathers, hopefully egg laying will begin in the next day or two.
I'll get more pictures soon.
We had a few trees blown over during the recent wet and windy weather, i think the amount of rain we had was the main cause. When the soil was waterlogged the breeze blowing the trees which were in full leaf caused them to fall.
An hour with a chainsaw tidied up this Elm, a shame it fell as it was one of the biggest Elm's on the property, they usually die of Dutch Elm Disease instead.