Spent today cleaning out the nestboxes in mid-Devon, which are up as a Pied Flycatcher 'RAS' project. RAS (Retrapping Adults for Survival) basically involves long-term monitoring, of Pied Flycatcher nestboxes in this case, over several years. Young birds are ringed and adults retrapped each year to monitor their survival and movements both within and between sites over the years. Interesting stuff, but the end of the year is the grim bit - cleaning out the nestboxes and checking for the chicks which failed to make it. This summer seemed to be fairly good, as we found just a handful of decomposed corpses in the boxes, as well as a couple of nests with unhatched eggs. However, it's also the most important bit - now we know the boxes are clean and ready for whoever wishes to roost there over winter - including dormice! The day was enlivened by the constant squeakings of Long-tailed Tits and Goldcrests, with the odd Raven 'gronking' overhead.
Best find of the day was this rather fine lichen, fruiting away on a fallen tree:
I'll name it when I can!
I've also finally managed to upload a few more pictures from the Isle of Man work this summer on www.jerbarker.co.uk - feel free to have a wander over!