Bird Population Study at Le Bosquet — 2006

An ornithological project in cooperation with Jean Collette and GONm.

In 2004 Jean Collette of the Groupe Ornithologique Normand (GONm) kindly agreed to select our tiny farm in the Norman Bocage as a site for a long-term study of its permanent, seasonal and migratory bird population. By carefully noting any changes in the immediate and adjacent environment, we hope that from regular censuses over a period of time we may learn more about our resident and visiting bird populations. (See also Small Farm Structures in the Bocage Virois.)

We are extremely grateful to Jean 'William' Collette for his constant help, advice and regular visits to compile the census information which appears below. When he began his monthly visits in 2004, we were sufficiently impressed by the numbers of birds he was able to identify. By 2006 we were astonished to find him recording, flora, fauna and fungi in extraordinary detail. "Merci, cher William! Quel travail, quelle diligence, quel bonheur!".

For the fullest information from these censuses, please click on the small graphics to see the detailed analysis and the consistency and frequency statistics for each species.

Explication en français: cliquez sur les petites images pour les voir agrandies et pour y trouver en français:

La constance est le rapport, exprimé en %, entre le nombre de visites où une espèce est notée et le nombre total de visites. Exemple: une espèce vue au cours de la moitié des relevés a une constance de 50%.
La fréquence est le rapport, exprimé en %, entre le nombre d'individus d'une espèce, comptés au cours d'une sortie, et le nombre total d'oiseaux comptés au cours de cette visite. Exemple: 100 oiseaux, toutes espèces confondues, ont été comptés au cours d'une visite. Le merle qui est représenté par exemple par 30 individus, est caractérisé par une fréquence de 30% au cours de cette visite.


Censuses by Jean Collette. Compilation by Christopher Long

Visit 15 — 08-08-2006

Visit 10 — 16-03-2006

19. On 19-12-2006 the following species were recorded (9:20 - 10:45; sunny, cold, no wind):

18. On 15-11-2006 the following species were recorded (8:40 - 10:05; mild, overcast, light wind SW 16° C):

17. On 11-10-2006 the following species were recorded (8:45 - 10:25; mild, overcast, no wind 16° C):

16. On 18-09-2006 the following species were recorded (8:40 - 10:15; sunny then variable, temperature mild):

15. On 08-08-2006 the following species were recorded (8:30 - 10.00; sunny, variable, cloudy, east wind):

14. On 07-07-2006 the following species were recorded (7:20-8:40; Overcast, no wind):

In June 2006 no monthly census was made:

13. On 23-05-2006 the following species were recorded (6:40-8:00; variable, cold 6° C):

12. On 25-04-2006 the following species were recorded (6:55-8:25; overcast, misty, no wind, 7° C):

11. On 06-04-2006 the following species were recorded (7:25-8:50; weather: sunny, cold, -3° C):

10. On 16-03-2006 the following species were recorded (8:25-9:45; weather: cloudy then brighter with sunshine, light cold east wind):

  • Notes:
    • Pronounced territorial activity by Chaffinches establishing territories: incursions from neighbouring territories demonstrate the large number of singing males on the outer hedges: the count may have been over-estimated.
    • Wintering birds are still present: Redwings, but also a pair of Firecrests (the male producing a full song)
    • Blackbirds and Song Thrushes still attracted by the ivy-berries
    • Magpies from a neighbouring farm, but collecting nesting material here, show that their numbers are out of proportion with species needing large territories, such as the Mistle Thrush
    • First primulas flowering (Primula vulgaris). Primroses (primevère à grande fleur) seen on a west-facing sheltered bank (valley side of Middle B). Close by under the wild Cherry tree (Polyporus varius) a fungus was found on a dead cherry branch(but it probably dates from end of autumn 2005). These two observations illustrate the existance of a micro-climate beneath the shelter of land-drop [an assertion frequently made by the owners who notice this effect all through the year]. Thank you to Denis Lucas for identifying Polyporus varius.
    • Nuts stored by Voles (campagnols) and Field Mice (mulots) found gnawed under the Home 'B' / Middle 'A' hedge. Nuts split open by squirrels at the northern corner of the Valley.

9. On 13-02-2006 the following species were recorded (8:55-10:00; weather: variable, no wind, cold, 4° C):

  • Present at Le Bosquet:
    • Chaffinch (Pinson des Arbres) (8) five individuals singing in flight and in groups
    • Blue Tit (Mésange Bleue) (5) one singing and a pair
    • Blackbird (Merle) (11) one singing
    • Robin (Rouge-gorge) (11) one singing
    • Great Tit (Mésange Charbonnière) (9) in two places
    • Sparrow (Moineau Domestique) (8) one singing on the house
    • Redwing (Grive Mauvis) (4) two on the tall cherry tree and one victim of a Sparrow Hawk
    • Mistle Thrush (Grive Draine) (6) one singing and territorial flights
    • Grey Wagtail (Bergeronnette des Ruisseaux) (4)
    • Hawfinch (Gros-bec) (3) one calling, perched atop a poplar
    • Song Thrush (Grive Musicienne) (3) singing in flight to thick hedge and another nearby
    • Dunnock (Accenteur) (8) one singing in thick hedge
    • Wren (Troglodyte) (4) one singing
    • Sparrow Hawk (Épervier) (1) recent presence given remains of a Redwing.
  • Overflying or nearby:
    • Carrion Crow (Corneille) (6)
    • Magpie (Pie) (5)
    • Collared Turtle Dove (Tourterelle Turque) (7) singing
    • Jackdaw (Choucas) (4)
    • Jay (Geai) (4)
    • Buzzard (Buse) (2)
    • Wood Pigeon (Pigeon Ramier) (7)
    • Great Spotted Woodpecker (Pic Epeiche) (5) hammering
    • Herring Gull (Goeland Argenté) (2)
    • Meadow Pipit (Pipit Farlouse) (5) on sheep-grazed pasture
    • Starling (Étourneau) (8)
  • Notes:
    • Much vocal activity from finches establishing territories, flying variously and 'defending' perches; meanwhile a group of unmolested hibernators present on the pasture.
    • Others singing include: Blackbird, Blue Tit, Wren, Dunnock, Mistle Thrush (very agitated and aggressive) and nearby a Collar Dove, hammering Great Spotted Woodpecker and Song Thrush.
    • Hibernators still present include: Redwing and Hawfinch (the latter prolific in Normandy this year). A Redwing had been taken by a Sparrow Hawk (probably a female given the size of the prey). See illustration of feathers.
    • A clump of ripe, brick-red fungi (Hypholoma sublateritium = Geophila sublateritia) on the line of an old north-south hedgerow (bordering Gesnoin field). The species grows on old stumps and indicates/confirms the existence of a hedge in front of the current fence (thank you to Aussant-Lucas for the identification). N.B. the very early appearance of this fungus.
    • A count of last year's (2005) nests is currently being made.

8. On 16-01-2006 the following species were recorded (9:35-10:30; weather: cloudy, cold West wind):

  • Present at Le Bosquet:
    • Chaffinch (Pinson des Arbres) (7) various flights around the farm and in groups
    • Greenfinch (Verdier) (8) groups flying around the farm
    • Great Tit (Mésange Charbonnière) (8) couple seen twice (different?), 1 singing nearby
    • Robin (Rouge-gorge) (10) isolated in hedgerows
    • Blackbird (Merle) (10) isolated in hedgerows
    • Blue Tit (Mésange Bleue) (4) another singing nearby
    • Sparrow (Moineau Domestique) (7) singing on the house
    • Long-tailed Tit (Mésange a Longue Queue) (2) at least two
    • Mistle Thrush (Grive Draine) (5) singing and territorial squabbles
    • Wren (Troglodyte) (3) singing
    • Dunnock (Accenteur) (7) thick hedge in SW
    • Firecrest (Roitelet Triple Bandeau) (3) in thick hedgerow
    • Hawfinch (Gros-bec) (2) male heard and then seen perched
    • Buzzard (Buse) (1) perched on post under hedge on falling land
    • Meadow Pipit (Pipit Farlouse) (4) on sheep-grazed pasture
  • Overflying or nearby:
    • Collared Turtle Dove (Tourterelle Turque) (7)
    • Starling (Etourneau) (7)
    • Lapwing (Vanneau) (1) five at eastern end
    • Jay (Geai) (3)
    • Wood Pigeon (Pigeon Ramier) (6)
    • Carrion Crow (Corneille) (5)
    • Great Spotted Woodpecker (Pic Epeiche) (4) hammering
    • Bullfinch (Bouvreuil) (5)
    • Herring Gull (Goeland Argenté) (1)
    • Black-headed Gull (Mouette Rieuse) (2) group of twenty-five
    • Redwing (Grive Mauvis) (3)
    • White Wagtail (Bergonette Grise) (3)
  • Notes:
    • Little activity given the poor visibility (weather overcast with a cold west wind)
    • Gregarious winter activity among Chaffinches and Greenfinches
    • The beginning of territorial activity by local nesting birds: evidence from singing of Great Tits, Blue Tits, Collared Doves, Wood Pigeons, Mistle Thrushes and Wrens; and hammering of the Greater Spotted Woodpecker
    • Meadow Pipits are attracted by the churned surface in the Barbier's field (with silage heap) and by the close cropped turf left by the sheep
    • Very early observation of Blackbirds feeding on ivy berries at the top of the holly in the SW hedge
    • Confirmation that the Hawfinch has established a winter presence here
    • The gulls (Herring and Black-headed) are 37.5 kms from the coast, presumably from the nearest point (Havre de la Vanlée to the west).

See: Le Bosquet

See: Other Projects

See: Main Index

Anyone interested in birds and the preservation, conservation or protection of their natural environments in the Normandy region should consider joining the Groupe Ornithologique Normand (GONm): 181 Rue d'Auge, 14000 Caen, France. Tel: +33 2 31 43 52 56 Fax: +33 2 31 93 27 07. Email GONm.

© (2005) Christopher Long. Copyright, Syndication & All Rights Reserved Worldwide.
The text and graphical content of this and linked documents are the copyright of their author and or creator and site designer, Christopher Long, unless otherwise stated. No publication, reproduction or exploitation of this material may be made in any form prior to clear written agreement of terms with the author or his agents.

Christopher Long

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