Roussillon Update 1

Posted by on May 25, 2015 in Fieldwork, News, Photos | 0 comments

Hello! Here’s update #1 from Roussillon, where I’m spending the third and final field season of my PhD. We arrived 2 weeks ago after the long drive south from Norwich, during which the scenery (and weather) gradually changed from British to Mediterranean (thanks to Jenn for making the voyage a bit more bearable). It was dark by the time we pulled into the campsite, and we came close to spending a night in the car (sorry Jenn…) but fortunately the campsite owner was around to let us into our accommodation – a fairly comfortable static caravan. After a day of recovery (and a...

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Life and Death

Posted by on Jul 12, 2014 in Fieldwork, News, Photos | 0 comments

A lot has happened since I last posted an update, and unfortunately there’s not much good news. Not good weather for Rollers The cool wet weather which coincided with hatching – when the chicks are bald and at their most ‘vulnerable’, (Springwatch parlance) – has taken a heavy toll. Out of 20 original nests, 14 have failed, leaving just 6 known nests in all Latvia. It’s likely that we missed a few nests in Black Woodpecker holes, but there’s little activity around them any more, suggesting that these have failed too. The surviving 6 broods have been...

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Tags and Things

Posted by on Jun 26, 2014 in Fieldwork, News, Photos | 0 comments

Roller Chicks The first chicks hatched in Latvia in mid June, and by now pretty much all eggs have hatched out. Out of the 55 eggs found so far in Silakrogs and Garkalne, a minimum of 8 (including a whole clutch of 3) failed to hatch for one reason or another. Predation on Roller eggs appears to be mercifully low this year. Unfortunately, however, the cold wet weather of late has led to some early chick mortality – so far we have 7 dead chicks from 4 nestboxes, including a whole brood of 3. UPDATE (Sunday 29th): we have lost an additional 2 eggs and 7 chicks, plus more losses reported...

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Update from Latvia

Posted by on Jun 8, 2014 in Fieldwork, News, Photos | 0 comments

A normal year for Rollers We now have 14 pairs of Rollers on eggs across the three sub-sites of the relict Latvian population. Below is a graph (a graph!) of my preliminary estimates of first egg dates for these 14 clutches, showing what looks like a bell-shaped curve, with some points missing from the right-hand side. According to some basic territory mappings, there are still at least 7 pairs for whom I don’t yet have a nest. Some of these may already be breeding in black woodpecker holes, and some will certainly make up the tail-end of the above distribution. By the looks of things then,...

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Late May Roundup

Posted by on May 25, 2014 in Fieldwork, News, Photos | 0 comments

France First, news from le Sud! Harriet and Claire (more from them soon, hopefully) have recently confirmed the first few clutches of Roller eggs in Roussillon. They also have a few more unidentified clutches, belonging either to Little Owl or Roller, which will be confirmed in due course when they find out who’s incubating. These first clutches will hatch in mid June, giving the girls chance to do some chick-stage stuff (PIT tags – yay!) before they have to return to Norwich for dissertation fun. Insects This week I will start my systematic insect surveys, and will be counting...

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Martens & Beetles

Posted by on May 12, 2014 in Fieldwork, Methods, News, Photos | 0 comments

Not much to report after week 2 – I’ve been housebound for the last couple of days waiting for rain to clear and mapping data to arrive. Martens Last week I went out with Edmunds & his ladder and we set up 12 camera traps, each facing a triad of baited trees: 1 treated with turpentine, 1 with a strip of plastic and 1 untreated. We’re trying to test whether these different treatments prevent Pine Martens climbing the trunk, and therefore whether it’s worth spending time and money protecting nestboxes this way. What we may find is that Martens usually access the bait...

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