Monday, 19 June 2017

BIRDS A RARITY IN THE GARDEN

The nest boxes are empty and the garden is virtually free of birds, apart from the odd visit from fledglings and swooping swallows. 
One question that remains unanswered is whether the house sparrows have taken up residence in the blue tit nest box – which fledged eight chicks from eight eggs.
The camera to the nest box isn’t working properly again, so a view inside is proving difficult.
If the female is on eggs then it’ll be hard to tell as they normally are quite still most of the time.
It is likely to be another week before it is known if they are in there.
The garden itself had a good soaking of water for a while, but now it looks like a prolonged dry spell is on the cards, which means the new hosepipe will see some action!
All the plants, tomato, sunflower, broad bean and peppers are now in situ, and growing fast. If they get enough water then the tomatoes can hopefully make up for the poor harvest last year with a bumper one this year.
After all the sunflowers did very well last year and now, thanks to the slugs and snails, they’re likely to be fewer and shorter than 2016.

Saturday, 3 June 2017

IT’S GETTING QUIET IN THE GARDEN

After the blue tits and great tits recently fledged, the garden has become a much quieter place. 
The chicks can sometimes be heard in the trees and bushes nearby, but their begging cries for food from their parent will soon disappear; as they learn how to find their own food and the parents take them further away from the garden area.
In the absence of the tits and their youngsters, the sound of house sparrows and swooping swallows is infrequently heard.
However the house sparrows may become more prominent as a pair of house sparrows has taken interest in the blue tit nest box and nest.
In previous years the house sparrows have nested a couple of times on top of an abandoned tit nest, and it seems this may be happening again – hopefully they won’t block the camera view!
The magpies have also moved away, with their fledglings, although they may well be in the same areas as the young smaller birds – which may result in some of the tits not being able to return to the garden in later summer and autumn.
After the slugs and snails tried to take out the young sunflowers, the survivors are doing ok in the garden.
The tomato plants and the broad beans are also out in the garden, and hopefully will continue to grow in this warm and often wet weather.

There’s be more planting going on in the garden in the coming weeks, so hopefully growing conditions will continue to be favourable – plenty of sun once the plants are able to bear fruit.

Monday, 29 May 2017

FLEDGINGS AND VEGETABLES

After the great tit chicks fledge the nest earlier in the week, the blue tits managed to wait until someone could witness their departure into the big wide world – well the area around the garden.
The numbers of great tits that fledged is unknown, and while there were eight blue tits that fledged, a maximum of six were spotted high in the trees calling for food and reassurance.
It would be surprising if all eight didn’t fledged, but it’s so hard to tell if they all did.

video
The first one leapt for freedom at about 11am, but it took until mid afternoon for the last one to come out, and then a further couple of hours to reach the others at the top of the trees overlooking the garden.
They roosted nearby as they could all be heard at dusk chattering away, and at dawn they could be heard again.
They’ll probably be taken further afield by their parents in the coming days, but hopefully they will come back later in the summer to see their original home garden.
The vegetable growing season is well underway now with tomatoes, broad beans and chilli peppers all coming along nicely.
A few sunflowers have fallen victim to the snails and slugs in the garden, but the rest, along with some tomatoes and all the broad beans, are now outside.

It’ll be another month or so before we see if the sunflowers reach their potential, and if the tomatoes, chilli peppers and broad beans produce a good crop.

Saturday, 20 May 2017

CHICKS ON THE RUN?

The local population of house sparrows, robins, great tits, blue tits and the resident magpies have been making the most of the mealworm hand-outs in the garden recently. 
And it seems to have benefitted the great tit chicks as they are seemingly about to fledge.
They did hatch about a week before the blue tits, so it can only mean that the garden could soon be without the chirps from hungry chicks – unless of course the parents decide on a second brood.
If the great tit chicks are seen, then images will appear on this blog in the coming weeks.
Unfortunately the great tits nested in a nest box without a camera, after it was moved to a different box over winter, so there’s been no opportunity to see them.
And while the blue tit nest box does have a working camera, it has only produced limited clear video footage, up until today…
It looks like all eight blue tit eggs hatched and all eight are doing very well. Fledging will probably be early next week, but here’s a couple of pics of life today for them, including an early stretch of the wing and flight feathers.
Fingers crossed both fledgings can be filmed or pictured, and perhaps even one of two of them jumping on us, as they did a few years ago.
The robins and blackbirds could soon by showing off their chicks soon, although with a pair of magpies with young, they would be wise to keep well out of the larger birds’ pecking range.
With colour now emerging from all corners of the garden, it just needs some warmer and sunny days so us humans can sit out and enjoy it too.

Saturday, 13 May 2017

HAVE THE BLUE TIT EGGS HATCHED?

Recent weather has been favourable for the bird trying to raise young this spring, albeit with quite cold nights.
The great tits have been busily feeding many hungry mouths in one section of the triple nest box, while the blue tits have been incubating their clutch of eight eggs.
And just two days ago they hatched, although the exact number of hatchlings is yet to be determined because of issues with the camera.
There are a number of house sparrow nests nearby, but it doesn’t appear that they are using any of the nest boxes in the garden.
They have all been receiving regular supplies of mealworms, which have attracted other great tits, house sparrows, robins, magpies, and the recently returning blackbirds.
A pair of blackbirds has been seen recently in the garden, taking a number of grubs, worms and mealworms off to feed their youngsters.
The garden is literally coming alive with spring life, including the first crane flies of the year and hundreds of flies and bugs.
It’s a great place to be in the spring and summer, watching the wildlife make the most out of the weather and being totally focussed on the breeding season.
Long may it continue and also long may the camera keep working so we can see the young blue tit chicks growing.

Monday, 1 May 2017

COLD SNAP BROUGHT THREAT TO EGGS AND CHICKS

Just when spring was warming up and the local birds had got the green light for laying eggs…
The recent cold snap forced the wildlife to seek warmth and shelter from bitter northerly wind and frequent hail showers.
The swallows had been basking in mild spring sunshine last week, producing aerobatic manoeuvres in order to find a mate, but now are only daring to take to the skies when the sun has spent time warming the air around the house and garden.
Among the birds that are seemingly on eggs or have chicks are the robins, blackbirds and magpies.
The goldfinches are still flirting around in pairs, while the house sparrows are still flying around in groups. Hopefully this weekend will be able to provide evidence of whether the latter are utilising the triple next box.
However, the blue tits have laid eight eggs in the original nest box with the camera, although the eggs were not being incubated by either parent in the time spent looking at the nest for a while. 
But, now the eggs are rarely seen because of the incubating adults.


This weekend saw a return to more favourable spring weather and has hopefully given the wildlife the opportunity to carry on with their breeding seasons.

Monday, 17 April 2017

BREEDING SEASON IS WELL UNDERWAY

The local population of birds are seemingly all paired up now, with many having started selecting a nest site and commenced building work.
There is a pair of goldfinches spending quite a lot of time around the garden, which is unusual because they tend to spend spring and summer down the lanes.
It may mean that this pair has found a suitable nest site in one of the nearby tress, although it may take a while to find out which one.
The triple nest box has had some interest from the local house sparrow population, although whether any nest building has started is not certain.
What is certain is the blue tits in the original nest box with a camera are quite fair one with preparation for the breeding season.
And it appears that egg laying may be soon to begin. One of the birds is now spending the night on the nest, which is a new development in the last couple of days.



The signal isn’t the best on the camera due to interference from the wifi, but sometimes it gives pretty clear images – if you’re patient!
The blackbirds and robins are not visiting the garden as much, which makes me think one of the birds is on eggs somewhere nearby.
Finally, the first order of mealworms has been made, so we’ll soon see which birds have young!