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Friday, 14 January 2022

Parliament and Boxes

 




The newish pair at Parliament are looking good for breeding, fingers crossed, if you recall the resident Tiercel was found dead last summer in Whitehall from collision.

A new Tiercel soon bonded with the Falcon and replaced him, hopefully it may be what is needed to aid successful breeding, however it could just be down to the Falcon alone and a fertility issue has surfaced with her age, we will see.

The last successful breeding was in 2018 in the nest box on Victoria Tower, previous to this they bred successfully in the nest box in 2016 and 2017, in each year 3 juveniles fledged.

Previous to this they bred on Keybridge House, Vauxhall (now demolished) from 2008 - 2015 fledging 14 juveniles, successful in 4 breeding seasons but also failing in 4.

Time will tell and the end of this month/February, pair bonding – display and copulation will begin hopefully, watch this space.......










Kestrel Box



On Sunday Jan 9th myself and Paul installed a Kestrel Box on a local Oak Tree, been looking into ways of installing it on the tree without using screws.

I decided on a high strength rope to take the weight of the box and then 4 bungee cords, 2 top and 2 bottom to keep it tight to the tree. The thinking is, that as the tree grows, the cords will stretch with it, will have to check it annually but hopefully it should work.

Kestrels are in the area and I have stuck a cam on it to track any activity.










Barn Owl Box No 2



Following on from the Barnie box fitted in late December, it took them 2 nights to locate it, since then constant activity on the Cam covering it so hopefully a good sign for this year.

The cam also picked up someone passing, just can’t resist a selfie.






 



Wednesday, 5 January 2022

Beckton 2022

 



The traditional New Year’s Day morning visit for 2022 was Beckton Sewage Works, a very nice morning both weather and birding wise with a few good birds seen.

I finished Beckton 2021 on 101 species, not a bad count for the annual year list and hopefully I can top this for 2022.

To say the weather on New Year’s day was a bit barmy is an understatement, at one point I had 15 degrees showing, it reflected on the wildlife as well, the Kestrel pair were copulating, Great Spotted Woodpeckers were drumming and Honey and White Tailed Bumble Bee’s were out.

It was an enjoyable morning and I got the list off to a good start with 54 species, had thought I had 55 but double counted on one, a couple of notable ‘hard to get’ for the site also in the shape of Avocet, Brambling and Woodcock.

The Woodcock was very jammy and seen overhead driving in at dawn, presumably looking for somewhere to roost for the day.

After observing the Kestrels mating, easiest the earliest I have seen this, I watched the female hunting briefly, she picked off 3 earthworms on the grass, before returning to sit near the box on the pipe.

Both Common Buzzards were present and as ever, these are a bugger to get close too, even in a car, however I did get a few distant photos in decent light.


















All in all, a good start to the year list.

Friday, 31 December 2021

HAPPY NEW YEAR

 



Happy New Year to everybody, family and friends, hoping you all have a prosperous new year and it bring you good fortune.




Wednesday, 22 December 2021

Beckton Sewage Works

 



I visited the Works on Tuesday morning, quite a cold one, a little later than usual but good to see both pairs of Kestrel and Common Buzzard on site.

It again looks like the Buzzards are wintering here; quite remarkably I have seen both Buzzards on 2 occasions sitting on Lampposts on the main A13 roundabout early a.m! They are very versatile and often forage with the Gulls in the waste skips in the works; I would suspect they are there at the A13 for road kill.

The Kestrels are looking good hopefully for another breeding season in the box so fingers crossed for them.

Also caught up with the Green Sandpiper sitting on one of the tanks, after this headed down to the Outfall.

Black Tailed Godwit numbers have swelled and a good count of 53 were present along with a number of Redshank, 4 Common Sandpipers, Curlew and 2 Rock Pipits.

On the drive out back along the Creek, had a quick look through the Gulls and one stood out very well on the mud, suspected it was Caspian Gull and this was later confirmed.

A 1st winter bird, grabbed a few photos and left it in peace with all the other hordes of Gulls.














It now brings the yearlist up to 101 and that looks like that will be it for the year, with only one more visit over the Christmas period, however hope springs eternal as they say.......

Monday, 20 December 2021

Barn Owl Box No 2

 



Following on from the 1st Barnie box erected on November 6th, we stood and concreted in the 2nd box to compliment it on Sunday. Boxes as a rule, are usually placed in pairs for the following reasons –

Although barn owl nests are usually well spaced out, placing boxes in pairs, from twenty to a few hundred metres apart, will provide a pair with roosting as well as nesting sites. The male and female roost separately, and some pairs use different boxes in those good years when they can have two broods.

This time I had the help of my other 2 amigo’s, Lee and Martin, a very cold, foggy and grey morning it turned out to be but we all soon warmed up with the activity. The 3 of us stood the pole/box and it dropped into the hole quite straightforwardly.

From this we then turned it in the right direction, in this case towards the east, it was then plumbed and braced and 14 bags of postcrete later, the job was finished, it took around 90 minutes.













I have to say a big thanks to Mart and Lee for giving their time up, especially at this time of year, they put up with me well, had a laugh doing it, there is no way I could do any of this without the help of all my good mates.

I have put a Trail Cam on it for a while to see how long it takes, if you recall the 1st one placed took a day, it wouldn’t surprise me if one or more found it Sunday night...........

Now onto the next project, got to keep them busy, Kestrel and Little Owl box going up next.