More Drama than the BBC

An early morning start to hopefully watch the woodpeckers fledge ended up being an emotional roller coaster!

As I arrived I noticed one young woodpecker clinging to the tree near the nest hole and the other squawking from the hole at the top of his lungs. The parents flew in and fed both before I was distracted by a real commotion further down the path with numerous birds mobbing a tawny owl. As I’d never photographed one before I seized the opportunity.

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 When the owl had finally had enough of the attention it was getting and flew away I returned to the woodpeckers and noticed the one that had been out of the nest had disappeared. After scouting around the tree I realised it had fallen and was on the ground by the path. As the wood is a popular dog walking area I couldn’t leave it where it was so picked it up and let it grab back onto the trunk hoping it would make its way back up. However it fell off again and after contacting a friend for advice placed it in a tree close by, hopefully to be soon spotted by its parents.

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I decided it was probably best to leave them alone and went off to see if the nuthatches were still in residence. The parents were busy flying in to feed but it was obvious the chicks would soon be on their way as they constantly popped their heads out to look around. One decided it was time to venture out but quickly changed its mind either deterred by the chilly wind or the sight of me!

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The bluetits were busy feeding and had a lucky escape when the male woodpecker had a go at grabbing a chick, but the location of the nest down in the knot of the tree seemed to be enough to stop it.

Close by a great tit was busy collecting material for a nest probably for its second brood of the year.

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As I set off to leave I thought I’d check on the woodpecker chick to see if it was OK and my heart sank as I approached and saw it grabbed by a crow!!

A morning of drama, emotion, joy and heartbreak. Who needs Game of Thrones!

Meet the Neighbours

As you know I’ve been watching the local woodpeckers recently but within yards of their nest are three others species. All three have occupants and the parents are busy feeding all day long.

Just down the path are the nuthatches.

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Opposite the nuthatches are the Great Tits

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And just down from them are the Blue Tits nesting in the hole above the perch..

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It won’t be long till they all fledge and then the parents will probably start on a second brood.

 

Happy Birthday

The swan has been sat on her nest for some time now and the regulars to the park have been constantly asking for updates. Yesterday I was the first to see her new arrivals as three cygnets could be clearly seen in the nest and I happily passed on the news like a proud father. If I’d had cigars I would have been handing them out.

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She was constantly fidgeting though which suggests there may be more still to hatch. Last year she had eight who all survived and the year before she had six so fingers crossed there’s a few more to come.

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One of the three was clearly more confident than the others and was eager to explore its surroundings venturing out of the nest and pecking at twigs.

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It must be amazing to see the world for the first time with new sights, new smells and sunshine on their beaks. I do hope the first thing they saw wasn’t me!!

On The Moors

There are a lot of different habitats close to where I live but one I don’t visit as often as I should are the moorlands. Whenever I visit I tend to come across something new and it was the same on a recent early morning outing.

The warblers have returned and virtually all the small trees had one singing away in full voice. These were willow warblers trying to attract a partner for the breeding season after having arrived back from sub-Saharan Africa where they spend the winter.

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There were also lots of meadow pippits around, which although usually around all year may well have spent the winter at the coast or lower down the valleys.

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The star of the show though was the skylark which I watched rise to the heights singing its song before diving back down into the heather. Luckily I watched where it landed but its incredible camouflage meant it took me a good few minutes to fix on it and take a picture.

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Duckling Update

Not great news I’m afraid, from the original 24 the number quickly dropped to 15!! There are a lot of dangers for these new arrivals from mink, herons and pike to attacks from other ducks and geese.

I’ve been back today and only saw one of the broods. This is the female who originally had 10 but who now only has 4 remaining. When I spotted them they were on the bank huddled up in a ball of feathers.

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Glad to see my favourite little odd ball has survived so far, so fingers crossed he can make it.

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Back in Black (and red)

Last year I watched a pair of Great Spotted Woodpeckers raising their chicks in my local wood. I’ve been going back over the last couple of weeks and spotted they were back and using the same nest hole. Both parents were flying in and out with food for the young. Looking at the type of food they were taking in I’m guessing the young are still very small as all the morsels were tiny. Over time as the young grow the size of the food increases, last year I saw other birds plundered chicks being offered.

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It won’t be long till the young woodpeckers will be poking their heads out and shouting for more food. Hopefully this year I’ll see them fledge.