Local Wildlife

End of the Nesting season 10/08/2015

With the Breeding season coming to an end most of my nests have fledged leaving only a few House Martins left to fledge in less than a week. There is also a definite lack in House Martins now with the odd large group of them flying through (possible migrating) This means that, despite the fact birds are moulting, more resident birds are becoming less elusive and juveniles can be seen often. The most obvious change in behaviour are the Bullfinches who have become more visible. But on the other hand migrant birds such as Chiffchaffs, Willow warblers, Whitethroats and Blackcaps are becoming a bit more scarce (could partly be as a result of there moult) with the only ones left, joining the large tit groups around my area. It seems that although there are not as many of these groups left the ones that are still around are bigger, and made up of; more than 35 Great tits, Coal tits, Blue tits, around 10 Long-tailed tits, 5 or so Chiffchaffs and a couple of Nuthatches.

House Martins July

During the early few weeks of spring I have been looking out House Martins with no success and with the news of them not doing to well I was about to give up when I discovered a large colony almost right next to my house. Overall there have been around 20 nests with only 2 failures. Both of these have been a result of the nest breaking. There are two explanations for this; one, the new material used in modern buildings means that the nest can't stick to the building or two, the nests have been destroyed deliberately by Humans as a result of a mess in their garden. (I suspect the first one). Around three of the nests though were still in use during early August and had got around 2 weeks left.

These House Martins were part of a large group that had been flying around one house. They were also rather oddly been landing on the house. At first I thought the large groups were just having a rest before flying on but then realised that they were bringing small amounts of mud and sticking it to the house. But they weren't building nests as after a few minutes they moved on and nothing was ever added to the clumps of mud.

Nest Record Scheme July

Since I have joined the BTO NRS I have been looking for more nests and have had some success. Ever other day or so I go out to find new nests and to monitor ones I have already found. In total I have found Chaffinch, Blackbird, Spotted Flycatcher, Robin, Song thrush, Wren, Wood pigeon and many others. The most recent to have fledged being the Spotted Flycatcher with around four young, the parents of which were very skittish. This sudden increase in nests is partly because I have had more time to search for nests since I have finished my school exams but also because have used the technique of tapping plants lightly, a lot more. My most favourite nests have to be the Wren and spotted Flycatchers nests both of which were successful.

Spotted Flycatcher parent on nest incubating 4 eggs. The parents had nested on a large tower around 100m away which had failed. What was interesting is that the birds were a lot more skittish when the nest was lower in the second nesting attempt about 3m of the ground as apposed to 10m but even more when there were young chicks (1 or 2 days old)

Wren Fledglings. These were only around a day after fledging and were unbelievably tame and eventually broke away from their parents after a week.

Some new life 14-18/04/2015

With the new found nests I have been going round them checking and monitoring them for any signs of change. The most obvious change was in one of the blackbird nests, where there had previously been three eggs. But having waited for a while the female flew off revealing three rather ugly chicks (only a few days old as there were still eggs two days before). The Robin has also had three eggs and the second Blackbird nest has now got two eggs.

Robin eggs (From 2 metres back)

Blackbird chicks (From a metre back)

No nests, parents or chicks were harmed or disturbed in the making of this post.

NESTS!!! 10/04/2015

Since the beginning of April I have been taking part in the BTO nest box challenge and nest record scheme and so have been out finding nests in my local patch. The first bird I found was one of the more common bird nests to find, a blackbird. It was a bit more open to the elements and predators than usual but as there were no parents or predators it was possible to get closer and see the three bright blue eggs in it.

Blackbird eggs

The next nest was a bit more tricky to find as I had to follow the pair of adult Robins round and round until I finally gave up and then discovered it was only a few metres away at eye height in a hollow tree. Again with no parents or predators present I could see what stage the nest was at. It was finished but unlined (in BTO terms 'N4')

Robin nest 

The final nest was another blackbird nest which again was unusually close to the path. I didn't have to get close to the nest to see in side, as it was so low and I could just see the single blue egg.

Second Blackbird nest

No nests or parents were harmed or disturbed in the making of this post.

Big Garden Birdwatch January 

This week I took part in the Big garden Birdwatch. It was a big success as I discovered some new birds I didn't know about. I started with my local reserve and went, where there were several bullfinches, a lot of starlings, long-tailed tits and several greenfinches. There were more greenfinches than I thought, due to the recent decline, thanks to the disease. Then when I was heading up towards the sports field, through some silver birch trees and brambles, when I saw some little brown jobs. But then, when they turned round there was a red patch on its forehead. REDPOLLS. Then when I finally got to the field, there were over 50 Fieldfares, 10 Redwings and a RAVEN.

Moorhen - 4
Heron - 1
Birds of Prey
Kestrel - 1
Buzzard - 2
Red kite - 1
Sparrowhawk - 1
Black-headed gull - 15
Pigeons & Doves
Woodpigeon - 3
Collared dove - 2
Great spotted woodpecker - 1
Song thrush - 1
Mistle thrush - 2
Redwing - 13
Fieldfare - 40
Blackbird - 7
Great tit - 2
Coal tit - 2
Blue tit - 3
Long-tailed tit - 9
Magpie - 3
Jackdaw - 12
Rook - 59
Carrion crow - 4
Raven - 1
Chaffinch - 3 
Greenfinch - 5
Goldfinch - 15
Bullfinch - 9
Redpoll - 2
Grey wagtail - 1
Pied wagtail - 2
Wren - 3
Goldcrest - 2
Robin - 3
Dunnock - 4
Starling - 21
Meadow pipit - 3
Treecreeper - 1
Sparrow - 11


Over the last few days, as a lot of people will have had, there has been a light snow leaving some amazing views. Sadly it melted very quickly, but the birds were still all out feeding. They seemed to all be more bold as they were forced to feed more due to the cold weather. It meant I could get some pictures of the usually skittish Moorhens and bullfinches. Also until this cold weather, there seems to have been an evident lack of winter migrants, such as the Redwings and Fieldfares below, in my local area and in the very centre of oxford (Botanic garden). They are now up on the sports fields near my house and there have been over 45 Fieldfares and over 10 Redwings.

 These Bullfinches only seem to have turned up in the last month. This may be because they have had to migrate to a lower altitude for food such as berries which they may not have had in higher places, such as Scotland. Or they have simply arrived from a more local area in search for food. Like a local migration during winter.

A new patch

Recently I have moved house and as a result I have down a small survey of my front garden and the small reserve next to my house. I discovered a large group of Bullfinches after I heard unusual song from the brambles. It was a while until I found them and could get a photo. There were around males and about 12 females.

Other Animals I Found
Fieldfare, Redwing, Mistle thrush, Blackbird, Treecreepers, Nuthatch, Long-tailed tits, Blue tits, Great tits, Coal tits, Chiffchaff, Willow warbler, Blackcap, Goldcrest, Red kite, buzzard, Kestrel, Tawny Owl, Black-headed gull, Wood pigeon, Collared dove, Green woodpecker, Great spotted woodpecker, Magpie, Jay, Jackdaw, Rook, Carrion crow, Barn swallow, House martin, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Chaffinch, Wren, Robin, Dunnock, Pheasant, HeronPied/white wagtail, Wood mouse, Bank vole, Muntjac deer, Fox