Dokkas nestbox cleaning

Last weekend I was in the village of Dokkas where I was helping Dokkas Hunting & Fishing Club with a nestbox project which has been running for many years.

The nestboxes are for Smew

and Goldeneye

We cleaned out the boxes and replaced damaged ones

Here you can see both old and new boxes

After the work was completed we gathered for……you’ve guessed it, coffee and sausage around a fire.

It was a very enjoyable morning and thanks to everyone at “Dokkas Jakt och Fiske” for keeping the project going.

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Tengmalm’s Owl

Yesterday we had the first Goldcrest (Regulus regulus) singing in the garden and a Common Crane (Grus grus) flying over the house calling.  We also had the first Fieldfare (Turdus pilaris) arrive and a Woodpigeon singing, which is a very rare bird up here.  It’s interesting that we only have male Chaffinches here just now.  They are busy singing and making territories in preparation for the arrival of the females.

We have two Tengmalm’s Owls singing close to the house just now.   I used my compact digital camera to record them singing.

Tengmalm’s Owl 1

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Tengmalm’s Owl 2

Vodpod videos no longer available.

They start singing between 9 and 10pm (it gets dark here at 10pm now) and they are still singing at 4 in the morning (it gets light at 3pm).  I have read on the internet that birds singing all night now have not yet found a mate.

I have been out during the day trying to find the owl perching in a tree

bit I have not found one so far.  I have also made some nest boxes for the owls

and fixed in trees near to where they have been singing

There was a full moon two nights ago when I was out listening to the owls.

Goldeneye and Smew nest boxes

Yesterday we had two Yellowhammer in the garden and three Whooper Swans flew over calling.

I drove to the small village of Dokkas yesterday where I was helping Dokkas Hunting & Fishing Club with a nest box project which has been running for many years.  The project was originally started by this man

Arthur Leidgren,

but more about him later.

There were 10 of us there

to clean out about 60 existing boxes around the edge of Dokkas lake

and put up 25 new ones.

The boxes are especially for two species of ducks; Goldeneye (Bucephala clangula) and Smew (Mergus albellus) which used to be very common but due to more intensive logging, there are very few trees large enough for them to nest in now.  We travelled around on snow-mobiles, but both the snow and ice are melting very fast now and driving conditions were very difficult.

It took two and a half hours to complete the work.  We put dried moss in all the boxes for the birds to lay their eggs in.

This is the original type of box Arthur made (he cut them from trees in the forest and carried back great distances on his back).

Some of the new boxes we fixed up with nails

and some were fixed with two webbing straps

In two boxes we found Red Squirrel when we cleaned them out and in this box we found a Tengmalm’s Owl sitting on eggs

After we had completed the work we gathered around a fire on the shore of the lake for coffee, buns and sausage.

We are currently seeking funding to create a nature center in Dokkas in memory of Arthur Leidgren and if anyone reading this knows of any funding sources within the EU, please get in touch.

I am also creating an extra page on my blog about Arthur and the work we are doing to create the nature center.

Another sign of spring

While out walking today I found another sign that spring is with us………..

The ball of moss, hair, lichens and spiders webs on the centre of the picture is a Long-tailed Tits nest. Here is a close-up of the nest.

The nest is completely enclosed, except for a small entrance hole on the side. The entrance hole is on the other side of the nest and was difficult to access without causing unnecessary disturbance to the birds. The nest is usually lined with feathers.

To read more about Long-tailed Tits take a look here; http://www.garden-birds.co.uk/birds/longtailedtit.htm