Thursday, 20 June 2013

Brutes when they're cute

This time of year is dedicated to monitoring nests and in particular those of raptors. Of four goshawk nests found in April, three hatched eggs but one nest was (believe it or not) predated when the chicks were about 3 weeks old. The two nests that are still on the go have broods of 2 and 3, and with help from staff and students from a local college, all five chicks were ringed yesterday. Although the male chicks were more advanced, one only weighed 660g compared to his younger sister at 1090g, almost twice the size.
a brood of three with two females on the left and a male on the right

the eyes start off pale grey and gradually turn orange/yellow

The least well studied raptor in Pembs is also the commonest - the buzzard. Paul has been keeping an eye on   a few nests and one pair produced a brood of two, compared to the usual single chick.

Two healthy buzzards at 4 to 5 weeks old

Thursday, 6 June 2013

Red-backed Shrike

An even bigger surprise than the recent run of sunshine at the wheatear study plot on Mynydd Preseli was this red-backed shrike which found its way into one of the traps set for wheatears at the weekend.

female Red-backed Shrike

News was withheld initially as turning up inland during June meant it may have been intending to breed, and this schedule 1 species is a target for egg-collectors, but it can now be confirmed that it was just a passage bird. The shrike was not made welcome by the local resident birds with meadow pipits, stonechats and wheatears all mobbing it. After being ringed  it slowly worked its way west along the Preseli ridge. If only the wheatears were as easy to catch!

Paul and Paddy