Tags and Things

Posted on Jun 26, 2014

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 in Ādaži.

Checking on eggs

Checking on eggs

Radio tags

Last Friday Simon visited for a long weekend, and we went out with Edmunds and Ieva with the aim of fitting 8 radio tags on breeding adults. We successfully deployed 6 – the last 2 will wait until this weekend. Simon and I then spent a while practicing radio telemetry – a fairly tricky business which I will master over the coming weeks (with the help of new arrival, Jamie Dunning). The aim is to compare home range and habitat use of birds from different parts of the landscape, and ultimately of French vs. Latvian birds.

Roller sporting its temporary new tag

Roller sporting its temporary new tag

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Telemetry-ing

The story of Y[HC]

In 2012 Y[HC] was fitted with a geolocator, along with 15 other birds in Latvia. It was never seen in 2013, despite all breeding adults being identified, so was presumed dead. A few weeks ago, however, I saw it incubating eggs in the same box it was caught in in 2013. We were able to catch it over the weekend, and to our joy and surprise it still had its tag! The battery has inevitably died, so now begins the long wait for BioTrack to extract the data. We hope that it will have recorded at least 18 months of light levels, which will give us some insight into the migration of Y[HC], and maybe tell us what got up to in 2013.

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Wildlife

Not much in the way of new sightings – I think I’ve seen everything there is to see by now. But here are some photos anyway:

Wryneck in a box

Wryneck in a box

Male Redstart

Male Redstart