Swallows Return (Quick Links 121)

My car went in for it’s annual MOT this week, unfortunately it failed and needed some work, but all has been put right now, and it’s good to go for another year. I’ll need to get a couple of new tyres soon as well, but they’re good for a few more miles.

Not having a car for a couple of days meant a slight change in plans but I managed to get everything done, just perhaps not in the order I’d originally planned.


I mentioned last week about the blue tits gathering dog hair from the garden. Well I managed to capture them in action in this short video.


I saw my first Swallow of the year this week (a week later than last year). I haven’t seen any Swifts or House Martins yet, but they’re normally later sightings for me anyway. I also saw a couple of black caps just across the road from my house. They used to be regular garden visitors but I haven’t seen one in the garden for a couple of years, so it’s good to know that they’re still about, and maybe they might find the garden again.


Work – I heard back about the work that I was involved for the tender for a few weeks ago and unfortunately we were unsuccessful. This was very disappointing as I thought the bid was strong. As yet we’ve not had detailed feedback so I don’t know where we fell short, but I am quite interested to find out. This means that at the moment there is no paid work on the horizon, so I need to hustle a bit and get that changed around.

Had a couple of work related meetings but they’ve been in the diary for a while.


Allotment – The forecast for the weekend was wet, but in reality it has mostly been dry to this point at least. It meant I managed to finish clearing the old purple sprouting broccoli patch, dig it over and add some compost, ready for new crops. It will likely be the site of the coming years leeks and sweetcorn. For the latter I still need to devise my badger proof enclosure to stop them eating all the cobs before we get a chance.


Currently Reading – I finished   “Turning: Lessons from Swimming Berlin’s Lakes” by Jessica J. Lee [LINK]. Haven’t really gotten into anything else at this point, been a bit busy with other things.


The Week In Wildlife In Pictures – [LINK]


Total Ban on Neonicotinoids – [LINK] I’ve written about this numerous times here, but at long last a total ban on these chemical pesticides has been declared. Hopefully it’s in the nick-of-time, but it is good news for once. Understandably the manufacturers are not happy about it (but they wouldn’t be really would they), but everybody else seems happy.

 


A short one this week, hope you all have a good week ahead.

Nobody Told The Sparrows

"Sparrow" Box
“Sparrow” Box

This is our “Sparrow” nesting box. It’s on the side of our garage, and was built for House Sparrows to nest in. The theory being, that as House Sparrows are communal nesters, the box with it’s three separate chambers (there are dividing walls between eat entrance hole), would be attractive to them. It has never housed a single Sparrow, nor have I ever seen a Sparrow showing the remotest interest in the box.

That’s not to say that we don’t get a good showing of House Sparrows in the garden. They are here most days, either feeding from one of the feeders or tables in the garden or bathing in our pond. They just prefer the hedge between us and our neighbour to nest in, or behind the fascia boards on the front of our house, or the tall hedge on the other side of our road. In fact probably anywhere that isn’t the “Sparrow” box.

That’s not to say that the box doesn’t get used, in fact I think it’s been used every year apart from the first year we put it up (about six or seven years ago), and last year, when Blue Tits found a gap under the eaves of the garage and nested in there. Only one entrance hole is used though, there’s no communal nesting going on. This year it appears it’s going to be the turn of the Great Tits again. I’ve been watching them scope out the options (left, right or middle), and they seem to have plumped for the left. They’ve been carrying nesting material in all afternoon, undeterred by the rain and hail showers!

A Previous Years Blue Tits
A Previous Years Blue Tits

 

In previous years it’s been either Blue Tits or Great Tits, no other species have shown an interest, and certainly never a House Sparrow.

Great to see the box being used, but just don’t tell the Sparrows, they might want a look in after all!

Watching The Birdie



One of last years blue tit fledglings

I’ve always kept a bird list. Birds I’ve seen etc.

Since we moved to our current home I’ve kept an exclusive list for the property. The rules are simple, only birds that I’ve seen on or from the property can go on the list. As it’s a small urban property the list is relatively short, 31 species in total; the most in any year, 24 species. It includes some great highlights though; merlin, buzzard, sparrowhawk and fieldfare. This year so far the count is 14, so a good start.

I was updating the list yesterday when I noticed a pair of blue tits checking out one of the nest boxes. A pair nested in the same box last year, so there’s a good chance this pair will use the box this year. I’d like to think it’s the same pair, but there’s no way to know for sure.