Thursday, 9 July 2015

MOULTON QUARRY 08/07/15

So I needed to confirm the presence or lack of the Sandmartins on the site. I spent a total of 7 hours 15 minutes on the site itself.
Sadly I saw just four Sandmartins in that period. Not once did they try to fly into any of the nesting holes and only briefly flew around in front of the holes but that was because the wind blew them there. I checked all the fields etc but the short of it is they've gone. I did a quick email/tweet etc to people I knew who have active colonies, the furthest north is Northumberland and furthest south Kent. All have active colonies so have ruled out early migration. I've also rightly/wrongly ruled out deliberate or accidental disturbance. There's no 'commercial' interests now the planning application was withdrawn plus the site (parts of it) were handed over for public footpaths aths etc and trees planted etc so I personally believe the stoat came back and predated the young, possibly older birds too and not normally being a two brood species, they've moved on. I guess I will have to wait until next spring to find out, jeez! I checked every hole attaching a small torch to bamboo stick and had a look, no bodies, no eggs and no life, in all but two holes I could see the back of the hole so definately no birds. In front of some of the holes there's evidence of claw marks. As I watched the site I watched Crows settle just above on the ridge and peer over into the holes. Saw the Sparrowhawk fly in front of the colony and even the Buzzard and Kestrel flew over (ok Kestrel hovered) and checked out the colony. Not sure why the predators effected (if they have) the colony more this year then last year. After all I'm actually seeing the Kestrel and Sparrowhawk less this year.
 I sat opposite the Owl Rock contemplating if my visit to the Hobby site on Thursday will bring better news, deep down I know the answer. I almost didn't see the Little Owl spying on me.
 It should realise I'm a schedule one species and by law not be disturbed, it's fieldcraft was appalling, no attempt to hide itself.
 

9 comments:

  1. That's sad news but the Little Owl is a wonderful sight.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Adrian, it's very odd to be honest something just not adding up

      Delete
  2. It would seem the Stoat is the culprit. True dedication Doug, spending that amount of time there.

    That first Little Owl shot is a classic. Worthy of a frame, and hanging on the wall.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cheers, time spent on site is the norm for me when doing a bird count etc. I think the stoat is the main culprit but still find it hard to accept the stoat took 48 birds.

      Delete
  3. I can't see the stoat taking adults. It would have eggs and chicks though. The adults would hear it and fly away.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Totally agree, some of the young were flying around before they vanished too.

      Delete
  4. Well Douglas I take my hat off to you for spending so long trying to try and figure out why all the sand Martins have disappeared. Very sad. I do hope at least the adults escape to hopefullly return,perhaps at another safer site next year. Now the first shots of the Little Owl is priceless. It did make me laugh. So cute.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Cracking shots of the Little Owl Douglas, they always make me smile, even the 'straightest' of shots has a comic element!

    Just been reading about Sand Martins...apparently parasite infestation brought into the nest chambers can have a devastating effect on the nesting colony...maybe this might have been the cause of their disappearance?....or maybe it was just down to one enterprising Stoat?...[;o)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Trevor thank you. The parasite comment has made me remember something I'm hoping I didn't delete the images. Thank you

      Delete