The latest update from network member David Price who monitors at Dunsford Wood, Dartmoor.
With all the cold, wet weather and the gale force winds over the past two days, I set off this morning with some trepidation as to how birds had fared trying to feed young. It wasn't actually too bad - most of the tits were big enough to put up with a couple of days of cold weather and a "light" diet for a day or two. The first brood of Pied Flys had one dead - but it was the runt of the brood, and the second was similar. However all the rest had come through relatively unscathed. Several Blue Tit broods had fledged - hopefully not in the middle of the worst of the weather on Monday afternoon. One brood of 10 "exploded" on me - had hardly opened the lid and they were all out! Pleased to see that they were all very competent fliers, and were straight into begging for food on various branches - the adults were a bit phased by this, but soon got stuck in. The remaining paltry survivors of Great Tit broods are close to fledging, not a great year for their productivity I'd guess.
Managed to ring some more Pied Flycatcher broods, and catch a few more males birds. One bird at Box 21 foiled me at my second attempt - he obviously wasn't much into child care. Was flitting about a fair bit, calling and occasionally singing, but wasn't going to bother providing food for his offspring. As a result of capturing the male at Box 32 have detected yet another potentially unattached male - singing away whilst the breeding bird was safely ensconced in a bag.
A little further on I caught the male at Box 31 and with a ring number of D568710, I mentally noted that this was only 2 numbers away from the ring on the female, his partner from the same box - D568712, a nestling from last year you reported previously. They're presumably Judith and Tom's birds from across the valley in Bridford Woods, - just wondered whether there might be an inappropriate relationship going on here?
What else? Well the leucistic Blue Tit was still going strong in a box of 10 other ordinary birds. Long Joan Silver was still incubating. The two original unattached males were still singing - hadn't decided to cut and run back to tropical Africa after the awful recent weather. And there might be as many as 3 other similarly unattached males. Didn't record any Wood Warblers, but didn’t go all through the woods. Bird song generally starting to tail off now. Will soon be "game over" this year for some of these birds!