Friday, 15 May 2015

Breeding Season Progress

This time last year we had young Starlings, young Siskins and young Pied Wagtails out of the nest, even the Blue Tits weren't far behind, as a mild winter led to an early breeding season.

This year, the Siskins never showed up, the Pied Wagtails have chosen to breed elsewhere as have the Starlings, though the latter are very active on the feeders now, so I'd expect they are breeding nearby and will bring their youngsters in soon. The Blue Tits recently fledged in the nest box as the adults are now making regular visits with food, putting their fledging date somewhere around the end of the month. The pair of Great Spotted Woodpeckers, which rarely used the feeders over winter, are back to nibbling peanuts in to small pieces to take away. One pair of the ever promiscuous Dunnocks are now parents, with at least a couple of babies lingering in the relative safety of the shrubs outside the shop.

Last weekend a pair of House Martins returned to one of the nests on the farm house. Compared to the numbers from 5 years ago, it seems there are very few now. The nests are still there, so what the reason is for their local decline I'm not sure. Fortunately the Swifts are back in relatively good numbers, the first of them arriving on the 8th May, a week or so later than 2014.


House Martin

Fledgling Dunnock

Busy Blue Tit

Male Great Spotted Woodpecker

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Recent Sightings

Though we have seen Swallows and House Martins on a few occasions this Spring, there has been little or no interest in their previous nest sites around the farm. One Swallow briefly investigated the workshop and the House Martins are, well, they're just not around. I'm still hoping at least a few pairs will return to the farm house where they have nested in good numbers in the 5 years we have now been here. The Swifts simply aren't back yet.

Most days you can expect to hear Blackcap, Chiffchaff and Goldcrest from around the car park. The Treecreeper at the weekend, however, was a pleasant surprise and not a common visitor at the minute.

The Great Spotted Woodpecker is drumming regularly and has just started to pop back on to the feeders outside the shop every now and then, having hardly been using them over the winter.

Our first fledgling of the year was a Blackbird, photographed on the 1st of the month though it's evidently been out of the nest a while longer judging by it's behaviour and feathers.

There are a good few Starlings now using the feeders outside the shop, particularly the suet cake which is now lasting less than a day. I would think (like at home) their nestlings are ravenous and may well emerge in around a weeks time. The Blue Tits are probably a bit further behind, one pair has taken up residency again in the nest box in the Nature Area, though they're not bringing in food yet so most likely sitting on eggs.

On a subnote, our binoculars are now in a Spring Sale, go check it out!