Monday, 9 March 2020

Best Laid Plans

Following a not too successful inaugural year for the new Sand Martin Nest Bank - we did get some harvest mice in a few nest chambers - a group of FoLLNR volunteers have just carried out some improvements for the 2020 season. 

No we haven't started a "Paragliding section" - waterproof membrane being moved into location

A waterproof membrane has been fitted across the roof and to create a more natural finish turf has been laid on top to help the "Sandbank" blend into the surroundings.


Turfing the "Sandbank"

Some of he reeds in front of the nest bank have also been trimmed to ease access by our feathered friends. A little more trimming may take place when water levels have dropped although we intend to leave some reeds to keep things as natural as possible.


And whilst all the work was going on we had an overhead observer keeping an eye on proceedings

Tuesday, 7 January 2020

End of Year Bird Ringing Report - By Kenny Cramer

Dear all,

First of all, let me wish you all a very Happy New Year, I hope 2020 brings you good health, happiness and plenty of everything else you wish for!

2019 has been another amazing year for ringing at Linford Lakes Nature Reserve and our other sites in Milton Keynes. I will attempt to summarise a few of the highlights.

Linford Lakes Nature Reserve

During 2019 we ran 28 ringing sessions resulting in 1084 birds ringed and 345 birds retrapped for a total of 1429 captures. This was slightly behind the 2018 total of 1546, due to several factors including:-

  • poor weather and poor health curtailing ringing activities for much of December
  • less targetting of the feeder site resulting in fewer captures of common tit species
  • mild weather at the end of the year resulting in fewer captures of winter thrushes

2019 did however turn out to be our most diverse in terms of species. We encountered 44 species which beat the previous record of 38 set in 2019. This included 10 species which were new ringing records for the site consisting of Barn Owl, Carrion Crow (caught in a potter trap), Common Tern, Grasshopper Warbler, Kestrel (ringed in the nest), Lesser Whitethroat, Mistle Thrush, Common Snipe, Sparrowhawk and Starling.

It turned out to be a very good year for warblers with record numbers of Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Reed Warbler, Sedge Warbler, Garden Warbler and Whitethroat ringed as well as the aforementioned Grasshopper Warbler and Lesser Whitethroat. This could be attributed to the density of the vegetation on the bund which seemed to be very attractive, particularly to migrating birds, and allowed for the cutting of some extremely effective net rides resulting in some very large catches.

Long tailed tits also appeared to have had a very successful breeding season with 68 birds newly ringed which is almost double the previous record of 35 back in 2015. 28 new reed buntings was another record beating the 21 ringed in 2018 while a new tawny owl in November was only the second to be ringed at Linford. 2 new green woodpeckers were the first to be ringed at Linford since 2016 and Goldcrest numbers bounced back to 22 after dipping to just 12 in 2018.

On a less positive note, blackbird numbers were down with just 12 new birds ringed, the lowest total since 2015 although this is likely to have been impacted by the mild winter and reduced ringing in December resulting in fewer winter visitors being caught. 4 new bullfinches was our lowest ever total for Linford. No coal tits were ringed in 2019, and despite several targetted attempts, we once again failed to ring any cuckoos although several individuals were present on site. A single siskin and no redpolls were ringed in 2019 again, partly due to mild weather and reduced ringing opportunities.

The completion of the Sand Martin bank in early spring was a significant achievement. No sand martins nested there in 2019 which was perhaps to be expected, (just a single pair nested in the old bank), however several harvest mice did find it to their liking! Now that the structure has had a year to 'naturalise', we can hopefully look forward to a successful breeding season in 2020. 3 new potter traps were deployed towards the end of the year which produced 2 new water rails (and a somewhat unexpected robin!) Several new nest boxes for tawny owl, little owl and kestel were deployed at Linford and several other locations around MK. Although no breeding was recorded in 2019, a barn owl was seen to be roosting in one of the kestrel boxes.

We had several controls/recoveries as follows:-
A reed warbler controlled at Linford was originally ringed as a juvenile in 2017 at Marsworth Reservoir by our colleagues at Tring Ringing Group.
A chiffchaff ringed at Linford as a juvenile in September 2018 was retrapped 24 days later in East Sussex (not reported until Jan 2019).
A great tit ringed at Linford in September 2018 was recovered locally on 1st Jan 2019.
A juvenile reed warbler ringed at Linford in July 2017 was retrapped in Portugal in August 2018 (not reported until Jan 2019).
A cettis warbler ringed as a juvenile at Linford in November 2018 was retrapped in Ingrebourne Valley, Essex in October 2019.

Species
New
Retrap
Total
Barn Owl
1

1
Blackbird
12
6
18
Blackcap
138
12
150
Blue Tit
179
68
247
Bullfinch
4
6
10
Carrion Crow
1

1
Cetti's Warbler
8
8
16
Chaffinch
9
1
10
Chiffchaff
129
16
145
Common Tern
1

1
Dunnock
30
23
53
Fieldfare
2

2
Garden Warbler
20
6
26
Goldcrest
22
2
24
Goldfinch
32

32
Grasshopper Warbler
1

1
Great Spotted Woodpecker
2
12
14
Great Tit
77
72
149
Green Woodpecker
2

2
Greenfinch
26
3
29
Jay
1

1
Kestrel
2

2
Kingfisher
7
6
13
Lesser Whitethroat
2

2
Long-tailed Tit
68
23
91
Meadow Pipit
1

1
Mistle Thrush
1

1
Moorhen
1

1
Redwing
28

28
Reed Bunting
28
9
37
Reed Warbler
79
23
102
Robin
31
13
44
Sedge Warbler
25
4
29
Siskin
1

1
Snipe
1

1
Song Thrush
7
6
13
Sparrowhawk
2

2
Starling
6

6
Tawny Owl
1

1
Treecreeper
6
5
11
Water Rail
2
1
3
Whitethroat
21
6
27
Willow Warbler
26

26
Wren
41
14
55
Grand Total
1084
345
1429

Friday, 6 December 2019











FoLLNR 
are Supporting the 
RSPB Big Garden Bird Watch 
at Linford Lakes Nature Reserve











Sunday 26th January 2020  from 10.00 – 12.00

All welcome – come and join in this annual event and help record the birds



Viewing positions from inside and outside the Centre

Guides to help with Identification

Refreshments available

Wednesday, 23 October 2019

Moth Report May 1st – July 31st 2019


LLNR Moth Report May 1st – July 31st 2019 - Gordon Redford

Emperor Moth

At Linford Lakes, a Robinson moth trap has been in use since 2017 to capture and record the numbers and different moth species present on the Nature Reserve - all the moths caught are released unharmed. In 2018, the trap was only used for the latter part of the season. 
The table below of monthly records for May, June and July in 2017 and 2019 shows that both numbers of species and total numbers of moths in 2019 to be considerably lower.

May
June
July
Totals
Year
No of Species 
Total Moths
No of Species
Total Moths
No of Species
Total Moths
No of Species
Total Moths
2019 
82
898
170
2824
196
3545
448
7267
2017
99
1597
194
4642
200
4339
493
10,578

However, despite the lower numbers of 2019, 20 moths previously unrecorded at LLNR (9 Macro and 11 Micro)  have been added to the Linford Lakes list.

Reported by Gordon Redford in The Magpie, October 2019, newsletter of MK Natural History Society.

Photo courtesy of Tony Bedford

Monday, 6 May 2019

Building the "Sand Castle"

We thought you might like to see the pictorial story of how our newly completed Sand Martin Nesting Bank came to fruition.








November 2018 and work starts with the digging out of the foundations













December sees the preparation of the ground ready for sinking the support posts












The new year and construction gets underway in earnest














February and the posts are in and the walls start to take shape












March, the start of Spring and the arrival of the nesting chambers on site












Mid-March and the access area takes shape and the first of the nesting chambers are installed












The roof is fitted and more nest chambers are put in place












As March progresses the nest box access tubes are cemented into place 














Early April and the access tubes are completed.....













and inside the addresses are all numbered











Mid-April and the job is completed with an external coating.













Open for Business










Tuesday, 11 September 2018

Work Sunday Bonus


Friends attending the work party on the 2nd September were treated to the bonus of a close encounter of the feathery kind, as Kenny Cramer was conducting one of his regular ringing sessions.

Kenny had predicted a busy session and this proved accurate with a whopping 132 birds caught of which 126 were new.

Out of the 16 species represented, blackcap accounted for exactly half of the new birds with 63 ringed. Other migrants included 10 reed warblers, 5 sedge warblers, 11 chiffchaffs, 6 willow warblers, a garden warbler and a whitethroat.

2 new kingfishers were a privilege to handle and gave the spectators an unforgettable experience.



Total species were as follow:


Blackcap 63
Reed warbler 10
Dunnock 2 (2)
Sedge warbler 5
Robin 2 (3)
Chiffchaff 11
Willow warbler 6
Wren 2
Reed bunting 1 (1)
Great tit 8
Blue tit 10
Kingfisher 2
Garden warbler 1
Whitethroat 1
Treecreeper 1
Long tailed tit 1
( ) indicates recapture.