Tuesday, 17 June 2014

New Arrivals

The Robins may have been early this year in producing the next generation, but the Great Tits were bang on a similar timescale to last year.

I noticed the parents starting to bring food into the nest box the weekend of 17th May.  I watched them one night, past 9pm still frantically feeding their brood.  They also removed 5 or 6 faecal sacs one after the other, so that gave me a good indication as to how many chicks they had in there.

Last year the chicks fledged on 4th June, but there was no sign of them leaving on the same day this year.  The weather didn't help as it was wet.  On 6th June we had a family barbecue and spent several hours in the garden, the Great Tit parents still busily feeding their young.  Fledging day was imminent I felt, especially when I spotted a wee beak poking out of the nest box hole!

Busy feeding the noisy brood!
Peek-a-boo! One of the chicks has a look at the big wide world
The next day turned wet and windy so the chicks remained house-bound, but by Sunday morning the nest box had gone quiet.  I could hear the young calling from the surrounding trees and shrubs.

Today I finally saw the first of the fledglings, standing on the patio begging for food! I am hoping they will all start appearing at the bird feeders in due course, just like last year's young.  I will try and get a photo if I see any of them.

I forgot to report on the Starlings.  They had made their nest in the soffit area of our loft, and had poked out the plastic vent covers for easy access!

They were a noisy bunch, and the nest was right above our bed, so we spent a couple of weeks in the spare room prior to their fledging!

One morning I caught sight of one of the adults trying to tempt its young from the nest, their curious head poking through the vent holes, but they were very reluctant to go!

Deciding whether to leave or not - you can see where
the nest is located, twigs poking through the vent
Eventually, they got brave and the loft went quiet again. Although just this weekend I caught one of the adults trying to get back into the loft, and a vent cover had been removed again! I hope they don't go for another brood...

© Karen Hartnell - all images and text may not be reproduced in any way.

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Artwork: White-tailed Eagles

Over the last month I've been one of the volunteers helping to keep watch over a pair of White-tailed Eagles.

This opportunity has given me a fantastic insight into their behaviour, and I've seen them doing a few things for the first time!

I was on my own in the hide during one of my shifts, and at the time there was not a lot happening, so I decided to work on a sketch.  Due to the excitement of seeing the male, I put the sketch to one side to watch him and any other possible action, and never got back to it 'in the field', so the rest was finished at home.

The male is perched on the branch to the left, a pose he had done on a previous occasion which I incorporated into this drawing, and the female is just visible above the foliage.

White-tailed Eagles
© Karen Hartnell - all images and text may not be reproduced in any way.