Friday 15th July 2011: Hopefully this was the day we’d clear up all the outstanding chick ringing; things had gone quite well so far but a few birds had deserted their eggs and broods were a bit down on the number hoped for.
Gordon came to help and first, we had an appointment at the Bingham boxes with Marie, the photographer with the Bingham Advertiser that has taken an interest in out work over the past few years. Chris, the Farmer with family also came with us so it was one of those fingers crossed moments when I opened the box. Fortunately, there were two nice chicks in the box to make the photography worthwhile.
On then to Radcliffe and the dreaded Oilseed Rape; fortunately the path we’d trodden out to the box in May was still there so it wasn’t too bad though sitting very close to a wasp nest under the box didn’t help. There were 4 chicks to ring here and the good fortune continued and we ringed another 10 chicks in the next 3 boxes.
Our first failure of the day was a box near Elton, one of the new square boxes donated by the Environment Agency. The check in May had revealed a female with one egg and 4 small chicks but now, everything had gone. There’s another box on the farm and we went out to have a look in that and was surprised to find the same female with one chick and 4 eggs. We’ll be back in 6 weeks to see if they’ve survived.
The last box was one in a derelict barn which is getting to be in a dangerous condition. We have to use the ladder to get onto the first floor then pull the ladder up after us to get to the box which is on a roof beam. The floor boards are rotten; I’d put my foot through the last time I was here and we have to walk and stand on a couple of old doors so it’s quite precarious. However, we were rewarded with 3 chicks which were very fierce and I ended up with holes in my hand.
That evening, it was my turn to take the family out so Kate, Lisa and Ruby came out to Kinoulton and Hickling where I’d arranged to meet the farmers and their families for the ringing. Fortunately, both boxes had chicks so no more embarrassing excuses.
So apart from the small chicks found at Elton, that completed the first round of ringing in the RUBOP boxes with the grand total being 83 chicks. However, there’s a possibility of some pairs having second broods and I’ll be checking for these in about 6 weeks time.