In common with many other sites in the country, this year the nest boxes in Roeburndale are far behind recent years. All of my boxes have been checked and there is not a single complete nest yet for any species - on this date last year, there were hatched young in some boxes. Pied Flycatcher and Redstart have returned in small numbers and some have started laying (as in previous years many of these species normally start laying in mid-May so they don't seem too delayed) but it is the Blue Tit and Great Tit that seem to be most delayed compared to recent years. The late start to laying means that it is difficult to comment about the size of the breeding tit population after two severe winters and a poor breeding season last year.
As Dr Dave Leech writes in the latest newsletter of the Nest Record Scheme, more nest records of common species such as Blue Tit and Great Tit (especially in urban and park environments) are needed if we are to be able to monitor breeding trends - even for common species.