Monday, 29 June 2009

Chnging Times?

Strange goings on in my nest-boxes this year! Normally the Tit boxes have been easy to deal with. If they are occupied you watch them taking in nesting material, wait a while and then you hear the young being noisy when the adults feed then, and in about two weeks after the feeding started they are off. Not this year.

The Blue Tits nested, as they have done before, in a "concrete" type box just outside my study. The parents were busy feeding the young and I could hear them calling in there. You can't look in this sort of box while the young are in there so I waited until all was quiet and then another few days. As I hadn't seen them leave, and the weather wasn't good at the end of May I thought I'd take a look to make sure nothing untoward had happened to them. When I looked in I was pleased to see there wasn't a single dead chick. With Blue Tits even if they fledge a few there are quite often casualties and it isn't unusual to find a couple of bodies left behind. There were, however five eggs. At first I thought that these were eggs that hadn't hatched, but they were very clean looking, so I left then and watched the nest. Sure enough a pair of Blue Tits were treating it as home. They been very active in the last few days and today I quickly put some steps up to the tree, when the parents were away, and had a quick listen at the box. The young were calling and I went quickly removed my self. According to BWP second broods are very unusual in the UK, less than one percent, and Christopher Perrins, in his book on British Tits implies that they are even rarer than this. I don't know if it is a second brood because I don't know if it is the same pair of adults. It is possible that it is a pair that lost a clutch, and their nest site and then took this nest over for a replacement clutch. What ever it was I want now know, but it certainly is the first time the box has hosted two clutches in a year.

Although Great Tits are know to sometimes have second broods it is still unusual. Today I realised that the box that had disgorged six young on May 22nd was now hosting another noisy bunch and the adults were in and out feeding then again. For whatever reason it seems that the Blue and Great Tits in the garden are doing OK. It almost makes me feel guilty that I'm now getting up before dawn the move and cover my moth traps as I had discovered that they were being raided before I got there at about 6.00 a.m. Now when I'm checking through then I have several birds hanging round in case the odd Heart and Dart or Large Yellow Underwing eludes me and flies off (with one of then in hot pursuit). I try and put the moths all in a container so I then release the both in an area of thick shrubbery, away from the breakfast gang, but I'm sure that the very nosey and bold Great Tit has got this worked out and follows me down the garden!

1 comment:

Warren Baker said...

It's still a late nest, even if it's not a second clutch. Looks as though the ''Tits'' have had a good season this year.