Sunday, 15 May 2011

Friday the 13th of May and a bit of luck!

I set off early afternoon for a walk in the sunshine albeit cool sunshine and with rain clouds threatening at times! Swallows, Martins and Swifts were the first birds seen as they flew low over the ploughed fields and barns, a joy to see! A Willow Warbler was heard but not seen, the leaves are really starting to hide the birds from view now. As I neared a small wood I noticed a Great Tit perched on a field gate, it had a juicy caterpillar in it's beak! I stood motionless so as not to disturb it and was surprised where it flew to!! It flew into a hole in the metal post that was supporting the gate! What a treat to see, it flew out from the hole on the opposite side of the post! I stood at a distance and watched both parents as they returned frequently with small green caterpillars for their brood! The path I was on is used regularly by Joggers, Dog walkers, Walkers, Cyclists, Horse Riders etc, I wondered how many people may have spotted the Great Tits nesting in the pole, I would bet not many. I moved on towards the wood and checked out a paddock adjacent to the wood were Starlings, Blackbirds and a pair of Mistle Thrush were feeding. Suddenly a few spots of rain came down then the heavens opened.... I sheltered just inside the wood hoping that we were not to have thunder and lightning, there were a lot of trees around me! Thankfully it was just a heavy shower. As I sheltered a Mistle Thrush flew in front of me and perched in a tree facing me! "Oh, great I thought" and out came my camera! The Thrush was quite still for a couple of minutes, I thought to myself how unusual that it hadn't taken flight before now, then the penny dropped that it must have a nest somewhere in the wood! I backed away slowly and as I did so I saw what I thought was a bundle of twine/stringy pieces in a fork of a tree! When I checked with my bins three yellow gapes came into was the Mistle Thrushes nest! I slowly moved further and further away and stood alongside a tree out of view of the parent Mistle Thrush. She/he fed the chicks in the nest and was off again for more food. I was so pleased to have seen this event! The nest I have to say was rather tatty with long pieces of twine/string hanging down also what looked like sheeps wool blowing about in the wind along with the twine, no doubt the chicks were comfy inside the nest but the outer part of the nest looked worn and tattered. I suppose strong winds could have loosened the outer edge and the parents to and fro-ing would no doubt also weaken the edge. The chicks were feathered and were lying up to the brim of the nest so maybe they will soon fledge. There were actually four chicks in the nest. I am now in two minds whether to call them Mistle or Messy! After a few minutes I spotted a Nuthatch busily searching along branches of a tree a few feet in front of me, it then flew to the tree I was standing by! Great I thought, how do I get a good view of it or pic with it being directly above me! I moved away from the tree and looked up, the Nuthatch was making it's way down the tree and then entered a crevice in the trunk of the tree, the crevice was barely eight foot of the ground! The nest hole was at the top end of the crevice, how neat it was too! I moved well away from the tree and watched as the Nuthatch emerged and flew off in search of more food for her/his brood! It was still raining hard and very windy but I was hardly getting wet and to be honest couldn't have cared anyway after seeing these two events! As I stood and looked around the wood I spotted a bird fly out low from a split trunk of a tree! I kept my eye on the tree and then the bird returned and flew off again quickly...I caught sight of it properly now, it was a Blue Tit! The nest hole was no more than a foot of the ground, brave little birds! So, three species nesting in a space of no more than 20'x20'! Three nests in a relatively short space makes me wonder how many more nests would have been in the wood all told. I was thrilled to bits with the sights I had seen. Hopefully all the chick species will thrive and fledge safely.

The rain eventually stopped and the sun shone again so I began my return walk. I saw and heard the male Yellowhammer that seem's to hold territory in a particular tree and the hedgerow alongside, I hope it finds a mate soon, then again maybe it has. A Chiffchaff with nesting material flew into brambles close to the Yellowhammers tree, it's all happening today I thought!Further along the track a Chaffinch was in full voice and a Great Spotted Woodpecker flew on to a tree trunk ahead of me and almost as quickly flew off again. A Robin flew just ahead of me and at one point stopped on the track and devoured a green caterpillar before going on his merry way. A pale phase Buzzard flew overhead and looking splendid with the now blue sky above it!
I thoroughly enjoyed my walk this afternoon, four wonderful nest sightings along with great bird species singing and most being seen! Not a large species list and no rarities nevertheless all a pleasure to see and hear!

Friday the 13th had been a lucky day indeed and the rain had for once played a big part in events!


I enjoyed a short local walk this morning around a local Fisheries after negotiating the lanes safely as it was the first day of the 'Car Boot sale' season, the car boot sale always generates a lot more traffic and more often than not racing to get to the site!
Highlights today were Swifts, Swallows, House Martins, Chiffchaff, Wren, Great and Blue Tits, Blackcap (f), Common Whitethroat and a Pheasant! I spotted a bird that I believe was a Garden Warbler, I have not yet knowingly seen one. I hung around to see if it would return to the tree that I spotted it in but no luck. A Frog suddenly hopped out on to the path making me jump, I almost trod on lucky! The rain clouds were looming so I called it a day, well morning!

Garden update.

The Robin pair have deserted the nestbox in my drive, they haven't been in or by it for almost three weeks now. All is well with the Blue Tit pair however, they are nesting in a House Sparrow terrace nestbox and are extremely busy feeding their chicks! They are getting through an enormous amount of suet pellets and seed!



  1. Nice images, Pam, and interesting story, too.

  2. Some years ago I worked on a farm and we had a Great Tit that nested in one of the tractors which we used every day in the yard. No matter where we parked the tractor the bird seemed to be able to find its nest and it managed to raise a brood in this unlikely home. Glad you had such an enjoyable Friday 13.

  3. What an exciting day Friday 13th turned out to be for you Pam,a great set of pics to illustrate the events too!
    Great Tits are known to nest in very odd places....we have one at our local reserve that nests down the Squirrel proof pole that surrounds the feeder pole! lol
    Funny you should mention Garden Warbler as we thought we'd heard one at the weekend (they sound like persistant Blackcaps) but we couldn't see it.....maybe we'll have more luck at RSPB Coombes Valley on Friday.

  4. Many thank's for your comment Mike! I am pleased that you enjoyed the saga of the nests etc!

    That is amazing John! How lovely to see such an event come to fruition too! Very enterprising aren't they Great Tits!
    Your comment is much appreciated John.

    Another odd Great Tit nest then Ruth! At least the Great Tits do not have to go far for their!
    Hope you get your Garden Warbler and plenty of wildlife sightings at Coombes Valley and enjoy a super day! I haven't been for a couple of years, will have to keep it in mind for a visit!
    Thank's a lot for your comment Ruth!