Thursday, March 19

Spring is in the air...

My last blog post showed photos of spring lambs which are always lovely to see but evidence of spring animal activity is occurring much closer to home too.


If you read Martyn's earlier post you will know that we are monitoring activity in one of our nest boxes that is fitted with a web cam that feeds live images to our laptop.

In the past we have watched a pair of blue tits rear a brood but this time a pair of great tits have taken possession. They haven't started nest building yet but each evening between 17:30 and 18:00 one bird arrives and settles down to roost.

It seems to blow up its feathers into a fluffy ball and tucks it head in.
From time to time it has a shuffle and it may pop its head up but generally it snuggles down until about 6:00 when it begins to stir and deflate the feathery ball.

At one point a shadow is cast which we think may be its mate looking in to give it a wake up call.


As light levels improve the camera switches to colour mode. Between 7:00 and 8:00 the resident bird seems to be stretching up to peer out of the hole (on the left of the photo). We think it is maybe waiting for its mate to return.
Soon there is a superfast nest swap and one bird leaves and the other comes in. It is so fast that I didn't manage to grab a still of both birds together.
The second bird appears to do a bit of tidying as it hunts at the bottom of the box, picks items up and removes them. It's difficult to tell whether these are droppings or bugs.


For the rest of the day birds pop in on occasion but whether these are the ones that appear to have taken up residence or other birds checking out the box we don't know. On one occasion a blue tit popped in and on another occasion a great tit appeared to be sent on its way by a second great tit.
We don't know whether the same bird roosts each night or the pair take turns. The black stripe down the bird's chest is wider in the male but so far we haven't been able to see the chest as most of the activity is seen from above. 

The last time that we watched nest building the actual constructing began on 22 March so hopefully we will see something happening soon. We plan to create a separate set of web pages  on which we will share the progress. We would liked to stream the web cam images but haven't worked out how to do this.

It's not only the birds that are starting to turn their heads towards breeding. Although we haven't seen or heard any frogs in the garden, yesterday Martyn spotted this:
I wonder whether you will be as surprised as to where the frogs had decided to deposit their spawn. To find out more pop along to read Martyn's blog post



24 comments:

  1. Lovely to see those birds staking out the nest box. Hopefully they'll be nest building soon. My frogspawn was late this year as well, it only appeared last week. Maybe the frogs know something we don't.

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    1. My guess is that they were learners CJ

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  2. The bird behaviour you describe is consistent with what we see happening with ours. Lots of coming and going, but no sign of birds carrying any nesting material yet. I think our residents are / will be Bluetits.

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    1. They have been in and out more today, Mark and have been doing some extra tidying so maybe soon there will be some building.

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  3. Lots of activity at your house with birds and frogs. We've got lots of frogs around the pond at the moment but no spawn, I still live in hope but I think my little pond is probably too small. Either that or there's something they really don't like about it. I've seen blue tits and great tits checking out my new bird box so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that they may take a liking to this one after the last one not having one resident. I've positioned the box in a totally different place this time so I think that's made a difference.

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    1. I guess after reading Martyn's post you have reassessed. Positioning is important for the nest box. Ours gets morning sun byt not afternoon so it warms up early and them doesn't become an oven and it is facing away from prevailing winds so that rain isn't driven in. It's inaccessible to even the most determined cat. They also seem to like ti hop in from the magnolia that is nearby.

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  4. That is a really lovely photo of the frog eggs.

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    1. One good thing about them not being in deeper water is you can get a clear photo, Daphne

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  5. I do like the bird's eye view of your birds, but I'm really jealous of the frogspawn.

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    1. I just hope we can sort out a solution as previously spawn in the pond has been predated by the fish, we are thinking maybe a basket lowered into the pond that the fish can't reach.

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  6. I'm very tempted to get a bird box cam, what fun to watch!

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  7. I keep checking our pond as I know we had frogs appear last year. As for the birds, this is fascinating and I would be constantly watching. I love the way it puffs itself up into a fluffy ball to sleep. Take care.

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    1. The frogs are late this year Chel. We do spend a lot of time watching once the chicks start to hatch

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  8. So lovely little tit. Are the nights cold? I have a pair of tits that sleep in my mailbox every time we have bad weather or very cold nights.

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    1. It;s not too cold on a night Leanan I think staying overnight is the birds way of staking a claim to the nest site

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  9. Thank you so much for sharing the bird cam pictures - they are just great.

    All the best Jan

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    1. Glad that you enjoyed them Jan

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  10. We put up some "squirrel proof" birdfeeders within easy viewing range from the kitchen window this year & it has been such a treat watching them. Next up will be some birdhouses around the yard - LOVE the idea of the cam.

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    1. Most of our feeders are just outside if the study window Margaret, We spend ages watching the birds,

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  11. How marvelous, it should be so interesting watching the nest building and chicks, I really must get a nest cam!xxx

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    1. Can't wait for them to get going, Dina

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  12. That's awesome Sue, must be amazing to watch those little guys rearing chicks :) What camera do you use? I've wanted to get one for ages but never really understood which is a good one to get. I imagine it's too late to install one this year now?
    Can't wait to see it all unfold, I'll be watching :)

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    1. Sorry for the delayed reply. It was THIS KIT Linda and yes it is late for this year but if you install one in autumn something may roost inside,

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