Thursday, 16 April 2015

Dipper boxes 100% occupied

-Well almost! This winter we extended our dipper box scheme on the Eastern Cleddau catchment from 9 to 20 and we have just completed the first round of nest checks. Amazingly there were signs of occupancy in all bar 1 box, but even this site had a dipper nest on an existing ledge under the bridge so we are still counting it. Not all were used by dippers, three had grey wagtail nests and another had an unlined wren's nest - which resembled a miniature dipper's. Only three of the bridges where the boxes were placed previously had any potential crevices or ledges for dippers to nest, which presumably explains the remarkably high take up.

A total of 17 dipper nestlings were ringed from four broods that were ready including a brood of five. All the complete clutches were of either four or five eggs.

A healthy brood of four dippers at perfect ringing age

At one of the sites two clutches each of four dipper eggs were found in either side of a single box. Neither clutch felt warm, so it wasn't clear what was going on. Maybe the next visit will provide the answer?

You don't need to bother taking a ladder if you take Paul

Grey wagtail sat tight on a clutch of five eggs

A cliff hanging diversion during the day produced these raven chicks which were off the weighing scales - over 1Kg each.

All in all, a very productive and entertaining day.

Paul, Karen, Mike, Theresa and Paddy.