Sunday, 17 May 2009

Friday at Holywell

Been hammering the Revision lately so never been down to the pond for a couple of weeks. Heavy rains and warm weather with migrants dropping in at Holy Island , thought I would take a visit in the gap of the down pours. I'm glad I did.

Got down at about 18:30 first a pair of Common Terns overhead, patch tick for the year. Also there was a Whitethroat singing in hawthorn opposite Houses with the usual crowd of Starlings, Blackbirds and the House Sparrows. I walked down to the Public Hide first on the off chance of waders, the water level was looking good, and the mud scrape almost perfect these combinations allowed me to be greeted by 3 Common Sandpipers, another tick, there was also a pair of Canada with 4 Goslings, Greylags, Mallard, and 1 Sedge Warbler singing.

There were a lot of hirundines about, with over 25 Swift. Back to the Members Hide, where I noted 3 more Sedge Warbler, 7 Mute Swan, 8 Mallard, ( 1 with at least 3 ducklings, another with 8), Pair Pochard, 1 Little Grebe, 6 Tufted, 1 Great Crested Grebe, Moorhen, Coot, Herring Gull, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Female Sparrowhawk, Chiff Chaff, Willow Warbler, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Great Tit, Blackbird, Robin, Magpie, Wren, Dunnock, Redshank, and a Male Great Spotted Woodpecker.

At 19:04 something caught my eye too the right of the hide, it was flitting about, not staying still for long, put my binoculars and was amazed to find an adult Spotted Flycatcher, this was the first time I had seen this species in this area. Only the second time in the county, (first at Tynemouth in the Autumn). It stayed in the area for as long as I was there, as I left at 19:30 a Common Sandpiper dropped in onto the small amount of mud in front of the hide.

Good hour, glad I went out. My patch list is at 99 so far.

Was up at work at Stonehaugh on Saturday, birds of note, Grasshopper Warbler, Sedge Warbler and Cuckoo along Pennine way, as well as Peregrine.

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

This Year's Guests

A few years ago now I asked for a Ecowatch nest box camera for my Christmas, possibly 2004. The first year nothing nested to my disappointment, the second year a pair of Blue Tits made it home, the year after they chose another box within in the garden, and this year well...

The camera cables are plugged into my TV so that i can just press AV and there it is, so the time of year comes when you can start to see pairs of birds defending territories in the garden. The whole family from my lil sis who's 12 tomorrow to my Grandma and Grandad, and the occasional relative who comes round are all keen on watching whats happening in the box, always asking if there's anything nesting this year.

This year started as any other with Blue Tits singing in the tree in the back, looking good I had a look in the box, only to find so thin sticks within. I knew that the Blue Tits weren't nesting this year as they don't use twigs, just mosses, hair and a few grasses, but Great Tits didn't regular in the Garden, all we seem to get is Starlings, Woodpigeons, Blackbirds, Blue Tits, Dunnocks, a few House Sparrows and a Wren. After a few days the family started hearing and seeing the male in the Garden, and also pecking the hole of the box. On the 14/04/09 the bird was seen taking material into the box.

I always enjoy watching birds bring up young in the garden and this new species got me excited. So far in our garden we have had, Starlings nesting every year in the nest box, Blue Tits on and off, a failed Woodpigeon nest, and a failed Robin Nest.

The nest was complete by the 23/04/09 and eggs were suspected under the hair lining of the nest. By the 24/04/09 the bird was sitting and sleeping on the nest, and turning eggs with her breast and legs. That night I caught me first glimpse of 5 eggs, so i knew there was still more to come, with the average bird laying roughly from 9-12 eggs. Next day there was 6 eggs and this hasn't increased. Incubation started properly on the 04/05/09 with the male feeding the female regularly, and the female sleeping in the box tonight.

I have a prediction that the eggs will hatch on the 18th of May, we'll see how close I am.
Here a few pictures of the bird in the box and the eggs.

I would highly recommend the Ecowatch Camera's and their service.