24th June 2006

Today's sightings included a couple of interesting birds. The first was a Siskin flying overhead from Lady Blantyre's Rock heading North East. This birds presence at this time of year suggests that there marbe a pair breeding locally if not in St.Ives. Hopefully a familt party will be seen in the next couple of weeks.......

A male Tree Pipit at Heather Park was the second decent sighting of this mornings walk. This is also intriguing as it's been about a month since I last saw one in the same spot singing. Have they managed to stay and breed or is it a failed breeder from elsewhere trying his luck ?

The rest of my walk went true to form, all the usual woodland species and most of them now have fledged young. Three pairs of Coots were at three different stages in their breeding cycle. One pair had independant young, another had downy young, while the third were doing some home improvements preparing for the next clutch! Also on Coppice Pond 13 well grown Canada Geese goslings were in a creche while 16 adults were keeping their distance.

In the woods, Great Spotted Woodpeckers were everywhere with young not far behind. Jays were also very vocal all around the Estate grounds. Swallows were seen zooming low over the STRI grounds with young sat on the fences eagerly waiting to be fed. A feeding party of c30 Swifts were found over Racecourse Plantation.

Three Chiffchaff and several Blackcap are still singing alongside the omnipresent Wrens.

Summer sightings to watch for

As we're now, alledgedly, in summer time most of the bird life in St.Ives will have youngster in tow. There should be many large parties moving through the tree tops. You're probably more likely to hear them rather than see them because of the foliage on the trees. If you do encounter parties crossing the path in front of you during a walk, it's worth just standing quietly and counting how many birds you see. Birds such as Long-tailed Tits can have upto 14 young following them around.

On the sunnier days it's also worth watching for Butterflies and Dragonflies. There are several species of both in St.Ives.

Nest boxes 2006

Earlier this year the woodland officers from the council kindly put up another 100 nest boxes. This time they went up largely in the wood above Beckfoot Lane with a few in Cuckoo's nest and near Betty's Lodge.

Sadly due to work commitments I haven't been able to check the boxes for inhabitants sufficiently well. I have managed to find that 35 Blue Tits and 2 Great Tit pairs have used the boxes. There could easily have been a lot more during May which I have missed.

June 3rd Bird Walk

After the previous two walks being complete wash outs, this weeks warm and sunny one was most welcome. Five people joined me for a three hour stroll around the estate grounds which proved to be the best of this springs walks.

Coppice Pond; Canada Geese and Coot have fledged young, the Moorhens won't be far behind.

Coppice Bog; Blackcap and Chiffchaff stil in full song, as well as Blackbird. Whitethroat can be heard outside of St.Ives at the other side of the road.

Lady Bolantyre's Rock; Chiffchaff was singing as we approached the plantation belwo the rock.

Heather Park; 3 Meadow Pipits were seen, which are the first seen for a few weeks now. I was getting worried that the cold wet weather had scared them away. The first 3 Willow Warblers were heard singing.

RaceCourse Plantation; No sign of the Spotted Flycatcher here this week.

Druid's Altar; at least 3 Willow Warblers singing.

Two Barns area; No sign of the Little Owl but 2 Garden Warblers were heard in the woods. Another Chiffchaff sang here as well as a few Blackcaps. A male Kestrel was using the pylon cables as a hunting post.

Cuckoo's Nest Wood; 2 Spotted Flycatchers were seen. Several Blackcap heard. 2 Chiffchaff were heard singing, another was heard calling. Only one Nuthatch was heard.

Other Birds seen: Long-tailed tits, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Sparrowhawk, Jay. Several nest boxes are being used by Blue Tits and Great Tits.

It doesn't look like we'll be seeing Pied Flycatcher, Redstart or breeding Wood Warblers again this year. The Wood Warbler heard a week ago wasn't there again. However, Spotted Flycatcher numbers must be at a record high!

Thanks to all those who have joined me on the walks this year. I hope to do one or two evening walks but that'll depend upon my work place calming down a great deal.