Afraid that the past few weeks have been a bit busy for myself, apologies that the blog is only just now being updated ...
Change can only be a good thing, so they say. Not necessarily true ... but some is good. A few things have changed ...
Spring is moving onward apace ... buds swelling, bumblebees and butterflies emerging ... but not at Stithians yet much (to my knowledge), and a touch of wind and cloud cover and it would seem we are still in the icy grip of winter. But the first frogspawn can now be seen, and the sun does come out occasionally.
Frogspawn (the sun is yellower and a bit bigger, no photo, sorry).
So what else has been going on? - Well, firstly we didn't have a visit from the infamous BikingBirder (he did call by in 2010, before my time) - weather and running late in the Penzance area (boo hiss shame!) and the nearest he came to visiting the reserve was a brief sojourn in Falmouth (a bed for the night and the King Eider at Maenporth for second breakfast). Nice to meet, and good luck for the rest of the year.
(BikingBirder aka Gary Prescott, aiming to break the UK record which he jointly holds at 251 from his 2010 effort, and visit every single RSPB and WWT reserve in the UK in 2015 for charity. Both aims slightly, but not quite totally mutually exclusive.)
More here - https://www.facebook.com/bikingbirder2015
Possibly more relevant to most visitors (we also didn't have a visit from Elton John, JLS OR Chris Packham) was the first inaugural 2015 CBWPS volunteer work party on the Monday 2nd March. This was an official event featuring the hardcore team of myself, Dave Bray, John St Ledger and Greg Adams (the change gang?). Various tools, machines and misc. other items were wielded, a welcome flask of tea and biscuit selection was miraculously provided by some friendly neighbours (friends for life when cookies are the currency?!), weather was endured (I even experienced my first snow of the winter!) with several interesting wintry showers, and Fluorescent yellow jackets were even involved. (Most unfortunately, our official volunteer badges didn't make it in time).
Stuart Hutchings hide (with some evidence of Work Carried Out).
Overall it was a rather productive session (not sure if it was actually 'fun', admittedly) - more graffiti was wiped out (it would have been more if the battery had been more alive), the feeders were taken down and given a proper clean, a general tidy-up occurred, and work carried on in a rather serious fashion on the car parking front with involvement of multiple wheelbarrows and shovels - with the later addition of some surfacing there is now sufficient parking for a good quartet of visiting motor vehicles - indeed, a whole cavalcade, if one were to turn up.
One car - and room for more!!!
(I must be a rubbish Event Organiser - apart from failing to provide any Ginger Nuts or Chocolate Hobnobs for the Willing Participants I completely failed to get any axe-wielding volunteer shots or similar. Probably a good thing though in many respects ...)
There has been some discussion in the hide logbook concerning the position of the feeding station having been changed. The long and the short of it is that recommended advice from 'the authorities' (BTO/RSPB) is that feeders are moved on a regular basis (eg monthly) to minimise the buildup of infectious diseases on the ground and general area - some species (eg Chaffinch and Greenfinch) are particularly susceptible to some pretty nasty fungal and virus infections which can rapidly spread between birds in sites where birds congregate. More here -
(From the Hallowed pages of BF, sorry couldn't find the actual correct and original official links this time around)
At the end of the day the welfare of the birds comes first (and human visitors second, sorry!)
And just to confuse and possibly upset a different set of everyone (!), and taking on board the recommendations, the feeders will shortly be moving back in the direction they came from to give the ground below their current location a bit of respite ... however they should be able to be positioned a little closer and we'll see what we can do about a slight positional change ...
(In previous years I believe feeding has ceased as winter ends and the breeding season starts - I see no reason why we can't continue with the peanut feeders at least throughout the year (dependant on stock remaining) to maintain interest on site ... we'll see how it goes anyway.)
Not much on the birds this time I'm afraid - will hopefully remedy that soon (early this coming week) with exciting bird news and photos from the last week or two.
Some recent sightings from the logbook (Feb) -
27th Feb - Sparrowhawk from Southern Hide (Chris and Lindy)
28th Feb - Goldcrest, 6 Lapwing, 29 Wigeon, 4 Goldeneye (f) (D Eva)
These Wigeon wanted to be on the cover of Abbey Road, but their agent said No.