The BTO (British Trust for Ornithology) runs many surveys and recording schemes. The current major survey is the new Bird Atlas, with recording taking place from 2008-2011. Thes basis is to plot the winter and summer population of birds in Britain and Ireland, using tetrads (squares 2km x 2km) as the basic unit. While I was filling in some results on this survey I noticed one I hadn't seen before, "The Nest Box Challenge". Over the years I've made, or had given to me, a few nest boxes that I have distributed round the garden. I'd almost lost count of haw many there were and even where I'd put them. I've worked on the principle that even if only a couple are used the fact that there is a choice available encourages some nesting. I was surprised to find that the choice now runs to 16 potential addresses. The full catalogue can be seen here.
So far this year there's been activity that I've seen around just a couple. As usual a pair of Blue Tits have become the tenants of the Woodcrete nest box that was a present from the Bird Watching class I ran in Crayford.
At the opposite end of the scale is this box I put together from some bits lying around, I doesn't look so desirable but I have seen a pair of Great Tits moving their furniture in, so hopefully it will have some occupants this year. There are a lot of boxes that I hoped would be used by Sparrows. I've got two semi's and a a line of three closely neighbouring detached boxes. One of the was used one year, but apart from that the only use has come once from a pair of Great Tits and once from an unsuccessful pair of Blue Tits. Mean while the sparrows still insist in nesting under the eaves, although I suspect that as in many places their number has dropped.
Moths I caught a few moths last night, new for the year were an Early Thorn and two Small Quakers.