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!

Monday, 10 April 2017

THE RETURN OF THE SWALLOWS

Previous dates of the first swallow sighted:
2016 – 10/04
2015 – 21/04
2014 – 19/04

This year it was two days earlier than last year, the 08th April, and they couldn’t have picked a better weekend to return – blue skies and temperatures of 20c.

With the continuous sounds of chiffchaffs, blue tits, great tits, robins and blackbirds reverberating around the countryside near the garden, one quick burst of a swallow song suddenly emerged.

And there on a telegraph wire, well where else…, was the single swallow announcing his/her arrival.

With cooler temperatures expected for the next week (and typically Easter Bank Holiday) the first swallows to arrive back for the breeding season are unlikely to be in a sudden rush to build a nest.

Talking of nests, the blue tit one is looking almost complete, with both male and female birds taking turns to go in the nest box and create what is hoped to be a place to lay the eggs to hatch the next generation.

There appears to be feathers and hair discarded by the local horses now being brought in to line the nest; being carefully woven in to the dried grass and moss that is already there.

Moss is also being used for some of the other nest boxes, just not the other camera nest box.

It appears at least one of the triple next box is being used, but the next box with the other camera in is still being ignored.

The warm weather over the weekend has meant the wildlife in and around the garden is emerging from every nook and cranny that it’s been hiding away for the winter in.

Spring is most definitely here and the wildlife knows it.


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Saturday, 1 April 2017

NESTING ACTION IS FINALLY STARTING

Just a week after expressing worries about the nesting season, and one of the nest box cameras revealed the start of a nest!

Unsurprisingly it’s the nest box that has seen a nest every year since it was introduced in 2008.

As yet the identity of the birds building the nest is unknown, but judging by previous nests the suspicion is it is a pair of blue tits.


The nest camera will be getting plenty of views over the coming days to try and put a name to the nest builders.

The other nest box camera, which is part of a three section nest box set up, has not seen any nesting action, and it’s likely that once again the other two sections of the nest box will be used for nesting.

It does seem as if spring has literally sprung into life in the last few days, and the wildlife around the garden has responded accordingly.

Bees are buzzing around the garden, taking drinks of nectar from the growing number of flowers in bloom, while the dawn chorus is in full flow – some days it acts as an alarm clock.

Spiders are busy constructing webs, hoping to trap the increasing number of flying insects, while the insect eating birds are hoping to capture some of them to feed up before the nests are completed and eggs laid.

It’ll hopefully be then that the caterpillar bonanza will occur and the newly hatched chicks will benefit.

Sunday, 19 March 2017

NESTING ACTION IS LIMITED

The garden has seen very little in the way of nesting behaviour so far, although some signs of courtship among the local bird population has been noted.

Near to the garden numerous magpies are collecting sticks for nesting, while some have even almost completed nests.

However the nest boxes have seen absolutely nothing, which is unusual because in previous years, at least one nest box would have already been taken – indeed in some years they’re taken in January.

The weather is certainly becoming cooler again and while numerous blue and great tits have been seen to inspect the emerging bulbs on trees and bushes, it may be that it’s not quite right to start building a nest yet.

It’s not a convincing theory, but one this garden is hoping is true, otherwise it’ll be the first year no nests have been recorded here in a decade.

Are the cats, who are continuing to use the garden as a toilet, to blame? If so then action will be taken to combat this trend.

Locally the smaller trees are slowly starting to turn green and bring some colour to the area, while the birds are always excited when the bird feeders in the trees are filled up.

Indeed they are on the feeders within seconds of them being hung up again, full of peanuts and seeds.

Saturday, 11 March 2017

SPRING IS IN THE AIR


A couple of weeks ago it was all about winter storms, now spring is very much in the air.

Birds are singing, blossom is blowing wistfully in the light breeze and the sun is being supporting by warm winds to bring a little bit of heat to the land.

The daffodils are one of many plants providing colour to the garden. 


Unfortunately it hasn’t led to any activity in either of the nest boxes with cameras in, which probably means that neither will be used this year.

Of course it might mean that the birds know of a forthcoming blast of winter is around the corner and don’t want to jump the gun on the breeding season – it’s not something many people will be betting on though!

The cats are seemingly waging war on one of the garden’s borders, despite an influx of plants and shrubs.

Just today, a week after the last ‘collection’, another six ‘deposits’ had to be removed, before young fingers got hold of them.

There will only be one winner, and it won’t be the cats, but it looks like there will be many battles ahead before they are defeated.

I do wonder if the cats are making the birds nervous about nesting near the house and it’s something that is very disappointing if true.

Cat owners need to do everything they can to stop their pets killing and negatively affecting local wildlife. It is NOT the way of nature for domestic cats to ravage local populations of small wildlife.

Humans putting too many cats in a small area can be negative for the cats as well as the wildlife, so if any cat owners read this, please take note.

Now it’s time to cross those fingers that the cats stop leaving poo in the garden and the birds start the process of nest building.

Sunday, 26 February 2017

WINTER STORMS BLAST THROUGH THE GARDEN

In the last post it mentioned ‘non-stormy winter’, well that certainly isn’t true now! A pretty ferocious storm has passed and another one, with less ferociousness, is currently running across most of the UK.

The first one had a big impact on the garden and surrounding area, with trees down, bushes bent over and one of the birds feeders being blown into oblivion – never to be seen again.

Three others survived in situ and have been a welcome supply of food for the birds after they had to spend many hours hunkered down away from the wind and rain.

The two nest box cameras are working, albeit only one is able to translate night images, but both have revealed no activity at all, which is very unusual for this late in February.

One nest box designed for tits, which has never been used, has been redesigned to suit robins, and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that one of the locally resident birds use it.

It’s been semi covered with rose and ivy, so time will tell if that’s enough cover for them.

The blossom on the trees that emerged last week following the mild weather has been scattered over a wide area, so it may mean a depleted crop of fruit this year.

Cats are still a big problem and I wonder if them being in our garden is making the birds nervous and causing them to look for nest sites elsewhere.

The cat patrol has been stepped up and all cats near the garden are being firmly chased away.

Will it work? The birds will benefit if it does.