Musings and photos of wild and everyday life

Home Life

Snowed-in – New Neighbours

Have you ever walked through a marshy area and been shocked by a sudden explosion of feathers at your feet, which then disappeared off at full speed with a zig-zag flight? This is the culprit but I didn’t think we’d ever see one in our back garden!

Snipe walking in snow BG xs 7548.jpg

Snipe walking in back garden

In fact we have 2 Snipe Рa brace.  They have discovered that amongst the acres and acres of deep snow around here, there is one spot where the the snow is thin enough for their long beaks to reach into the soil Рour old trampoline!

Snipe foraging in snow under Trampoline BG xs 7466.jpg

Snipe foraging under trampoline

There are a lot more birds in the garden than usual, drawn by the need to find food and by our feeders and seed strewn-steps etc. Today we had a Pied Wagtail our our doorstep.

It all looks cute and is great for close views of birds we seldom see close up but many birds will die during this spell. Indeed many people will suffer with some main and most side roads closed.

So be safe and help your neighbours – feathered and otherwise ūüôā


Paper Houses – Wasp Magic

Norwegian Wasps building Nest under roof

Wasps, like spiders, divide people.  They can cause pandemonium or can be admired.

Norwegian Wasps on Nest under roof

Norwegian Wasps on Nest under our roof

As part of my case for admiring, consider their house building skills and team work. The picture above is of a partly built nest just discovered under our soffit, attached to TV cables. These are Norwegian Wasps, one of 6 species of social (meaning they are not solitary, rather than that they will have a chat with us!) wasps in Ireland.

Norwegian Wasps building Nest under roof

Norwegian Wasps building Nest under roof

These nests are built, bit by intricate bit, by the wasps chewing wood into a pulp and pasting it into place at the nest.

Tree Wasp chewing on garden shed

Tree Wasp chewing on garden shed

The Tree Wasp above was found in early June nibbling away at the wood of our already weathered, garden shed.

The nest is started by the Queen and extended by the worker wasps produced. The inner construction is a honeycomb shape with hexaganol cells where the eggs are laid and the wasp larvae grow.

Yellow Paper Wasps working on nest, Santa Cruz

Yellow Paper Wasps working on nest, Santa Cruz

The picture above from the Galapagos Islands shows the early cells with eggs of Yellow Paper Wasps. And below is a similar example from Spain, showing the stem (Petiole) stuck to the leaf by the Queen.

Wasp nest under Palm leaf, Malaga, Spain

Wasp nest under Palm leaf, Malaga, Spain

Another nest in construction, this time by Paper Wasps (Polistes gallicus), near Montepulciano in Tuscany.

Paper Wasps building nest on back of sign post, Italy

Paper Wasps building nest on back of sign post, Italy

Outside these cells, a number of cover lobes are constructed so that the nest ends up in a roughly round shape with an entrace hole near the bottom.

Common and German Wasps are said to be more common.  They usually build their larger nests underground.

It can be difficult to identify different wasp species, especially if their faces are buried in flowers or you are concentrating more on getting out of the way!  However each species has distinctive black marks on the back and face.  This is a bit complicated by variations amongst Queens,Workers and Males.

Wasps & nest under large leaf, Ecuador

Wasps & nest under large leaf, Ecuador

These paper houses can be found all over the world, varying in shape size and rigidity.  The wasps are also quite adaptable.  A few years ago Tree wasps adopted a Tit Nest Box to host their nest.

Tree Wasps building nest in Tit box, Front Garden

Tree Wasps building nest in Tit box, Front Garden

Tree Wasps extending nest to cover Tit nest box hole

Tree Wasps extending nest to partially cover Tit nest box hole

Tree Wasp guarding entrance to nest in Tit nest box

Tree Wasp guarding entrance to nest in Tit nest box

Surely one of the wonders of the world! ūüôā


Goodbye Lizzie, Hello Caoimhe

Looking like a small alien blob, it takes a while to recognise the tiny baby birds huddled together for warmth in a small nest.

In previous years Lizzie had rared families of Blue Tits but last year our camera nest box stayed idle, despite a brief bout of grass depositing.

This year we hadn’t seen any movement near the box and on the infrequent times we had checked the video, there was nothing happening, although again, some grass had been collected early on.¬† This month we checked again just to be sure there was nothing there.¬† In another nest box, with no camera, wasps had built a nest a few years back.¬† Anyway we were surprised and delighted to realise that not only was there a nest but there were eggs – very small oval shaped eggs with few markings and a slight pink tinge, although this could have been caused by the light reflecting off the wooden box.

Only about a week later, we saw one of the birds seemingly breaking an egg.  But as she moved, the strange outline of a fleshy, scrawny, awkward baby could be seen.  The parent was actually getting rid of the broken egg.

Now there are at least six babies.  There could be 7 or even 8 Рthey tend to sit on each other in the confined nest hollow.  There were 8 eggs, so maybe all hatched safely Рmore to find out!

Welcome Caoimhe.

 


Spider Behaviour

Male Spider Tetragnatha extensa cocooning prey in web

There’s been a bit of a gap since the last post – maybe a sign of a good Summer?

Delicate touch - Spider Tetragnatha extensa on web in flowers

Delicate touch – Spider Tetragnatha extensa on web in flowers

Those of you squeamish about Arachnids should maybe wait a bit longer – this is the second part of a Spider feature, dealing more with behaviour.¬† The previous post can be found here –¬† Spiders in Ireland.

The first thing we think of regarding spiders is Webs.  Apart from having 8 legs and numerous eyes, this is a very defining deature.  The first picture shows the delicte, sure touch of the spider as well as the strength of the silk lines it weaves.

Spider's Web in frost

Spider’s Web in frost

Raindrops on tiny web

Raindrops on tiny web

Sometimes webs are hard to see – they are used to trap flies afterall – but frost, rain and morning dew makes them very visible.

Then the brilliant structures and their number, can be admired by all.

Dew-covered Webs on bush

Dew-covered Webs on bush

Garden spider - Araneus diadematus underside showing spinners

Female Garden spider – Araneus diadematus underside showing spinners

Spiders have spinners under their rear (see picture and also Garden Spider showing spinners), from where tough silk emerges quite rapidly.

In fact spiders can produce different grades of fibres for different uses – web, temporary scaffold for making web, wrapping prey, cocoons etc – and use different glues.
Garden Spider in web - waiting, feeling

Male Garden Spider in web – waiting, feeling

Spider Meta segmentata female dragging cranefly in web

Spider Meta segmentata female dragging cranefly in web

Spiders wait quietly and still on their webs  with their legs on a number of lines, or at the edge of a web, perhaps under a leaf, but touching a main line, waiting for vibrattions that tell them some prey is struggling with the sticky web.  However spiders themselves are able to traverse the web very quickly.  This seems to be due to a number of factors:-

  1. spiders know where the sticky strands are
  2. spiders have an oily substance on their legs which resists sticking
  3. they walk in a way that minimises the contact between the glue drops and the tiny hairs on their legs and
  4. they have a third claw that seems to work with the flexible hairs to grasp the thread and release it!
Fly caught by spider- linyphiidae

Fly caught by spider- linyphiidae

Prey stuck in a web, is usually doomed unless large and powerful enough to free itself. The resident spider usually approaches quite quickly and ends the struggle with a poisonous bite.

Male Spider Tetragnatha extensa cocooning prey in web

Male Spider Tetragnatha extensa cocooning prey in web

Generally the spider then cocoons its prey using more sticky silk thread – dinner for later.

 

Although it seems out of character, some spiders do not build webs.  Hunter spiders (Hunter Spider), for example, use speed to grab and bite their prey.

 

Spider in web Lough Dan

Spider in web Lough Dan

Another use for spider silk is to make funnels and nests.

Wolf Spider with egg sac

Wolf Spider with egg sac

Spider Tetragnatha extensa on stem

Spider Tetragnatha extensa on stem

Finally, spider silk is used to make a sac to carry its eggs.

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Spiders are good at hiding, whether it is in the shadow under leaves or in the open, staying still.

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This is aided by aligning their legs with the foliage …

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or by looking un-spider-like and staying still.

Harvestman on house wall

Harvestman on house wall


Whoopers & Greylags at Christmas

Whooper Swans and Greglag Geese neighbours for Christmas

Whooper Swans and Greglag Geese neighbours for Christmas

They arrived in October this year as most years and apart from some very mild mornings, have enhanced our view from the house since.

A particularly nice sight on a frosty Christmas morning.

Happy Christmas and a brilliant New Year to all.


Springing Up

Ducklings Grand Canal

Ducklings on Grand Canal

What a great change to the weather and suddenly, it seems, Spring is everywhere.

.The great hope of light and warmth and growth, after the dark and cold of winter, is inspiring.

Of course, as usual, everything is a bit later here in the foothills of the mountains!

Snowdrops

Snowdrops in garden

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Snowdrops have bloomed,

Snowdrop

Snowdrop in garden

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Crocus hybrids

Crocus hybrids in garden

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Crocuses are waning.

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Daffodil in garden

Daffodil in garden

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And now Daffodills brighten our roads and gardens and confirm the Spring promise.

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12 of 13 Mallard Ducklings on Grand canal

12 of 13 Mallard Ducklings on Grand canal

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It seems early  but we have already seen ducklings in the canal.  13 tiny balls of puffed up fluff darting around under the watchful eye of Mammy Mallard and 2 Drakes.

13!  That sounds like a lot of painful egg producing effort.

I don’t know if one of the Drakes was a friend, lover, brother or a security guard?¬† If a guard, he doesn’t seem to have been much good, as a couple of days later, no ducklings could be found!

We can hope they moved elsewhere but they seemed too tiny to go far and the birds on the Grand Canal do suffer great predation.

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Lamb in field Co Kildare

Lamb in field Co Kildare

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This is also lambing time around here and little white quadrapeds have been appearing in the nearby fields for about a month now.

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On the other hand we start to say goodbye to the Geese & Swans.

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Greylag Geese in rear field Blessington

Greylag Geese in rear field Blessington

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The Whoopers have already dissappeared but the Greylags are still feeding in the grass fields – probably stocking up for their long flights. .

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Anyway here’s looking forward to plenty more springing up in the coming weeks.


Lizzie’s Lassies at Large

The good news is that Lizzie brought up 3 fine chicks and they fledged in June, while I was at the office. ¬†Originally there had been 6 but we suspect that the winter and ‘spring’ has taken its toll of the insect population and they found it hard to feed the poor little bairns.
Starling feeding leatherjackets to juv in nest box

Starling feeding leatherjackets to juvenile
in nest box

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We weren’t sure that all 3 would make it as 1 seemed to be more lethargic and smaller, often¬†disappearing¬†under the other two! ¬†However as we watched, it became apparent that the size was more to do with the distance from the camera and that they seemed to rotate the lethargic position. ¬†The one that had been fed a lot, seemed to get lazier and slid down into the warmer deeper part of the nest.
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Anyway 3 is not a bad result.
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Our starlings again produced a fine gang of young’uns around the same time and have already produced a second brood! ¬†Energy¬† seemed to be unbounded as they flew nearly continuously in and out of the garage nest box.
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Elsewhere in the garden, Blackbirds had a successful breeding season as did Robins but it seemed to be generally a poorer breeding season from our viewpoint – perhaps the bad Spring was to blame?
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Nearby Rooks and  Jackdaws seemed to produce their usual noisy kindergarten group while the sky was brightened by the fast flying and twittering House Martins and Swallows as well as Sand Martins.

Lizzie 2013

She’s back.¬† Lizzie, that is.¬† Blue Tit near nestYou remember Lizzie?¬† This blog is about Lizzzie (or Alice and lots of other things!).¬† See https://cliffsview.wordpress.com/2012/07/05/new-creations-what-grows-in-your-garden/ & https://cliffsview.wordpress.com/2012/01/29/lizzie-2012/

 

The nestbox has at least 5 and maybe 6 eggs in it.  More news to follow.


Hungry Visitor

Sparrowhawk M BG through window

Male Sparrowhawk in Back Garden

The Geese are finally gone and Swallows and House Martins are alreadywheeling through the skies, shrieking and endlessly seeking flies.  Temperatures are up and there is great activity amongst the birds.

I think that is why a silent spell in the garden made me look out the window.  A quick shift in direction of grey wing in the bushes looked different, unusual.  Looking closer I was surprised to see a male Sparrowhawk that seemed to have come to feed on the nut-feeding small birds.

Having the camera close as I was about to head down to the lake, I got a few pics through the window, trying not to scare him.

The small birds seemed to have taken refuge in a woody bush and were now giving the vocals the full treatment, while himself, perched on top of the bush, seemed to be wondering how to get in or perhaps just hoping that one of the little ‘uns would make a break for it.

He seemed to be very keen on a meal so I had a go at opening the creaky back door a little and was lucky enough to be tolerated while I got some better shots.  Such a magnificent creature, albeit built to kill.  Eyes, beak clews, wings Рall intended to allow sharp movement and precise, lethal hunting.

Its interesting to note the differences between the sexes – the female (see https://cliffsview.files.wordpress.com/2011/01/sparrowhawk-f-with-twig-st-annes-dublin-1732xl.jpg) is larger but duller.

Eventually he got fed up – not literally, unfortunately for him – and flew off low along the old hedge.

Fantastic encounter with a stunning creature.

Sparrowhawk M BG


Frosty Birds

Whooper Swans and Greylag Geese Frosty field BlessingtonMid-March and Spring is still springing but the weather has regressed – frost, snow and hail-stones seem to be more common than warming termperatures.

So the Whooper Swans and Greylag geese are still close-by.

The very idea of sitting with your belly on the frozen ground is enough to give the collycobbles!

When the birds move you can see a ‘melted’ space!¬† It can leave a patchwork pattern on the field.Whooper Swans in Frost field with Greylag Geese BlessingtonGreylag Geese in Frost field Blessington


Garden Finches

ooper Swans & Greylag Geese Blessington from homeWell Spring is gathering pace and the weather is drier.  Magpies are very obvious as they build elaborate nests and birds are amorous.

However we haven’t yet seen the first frogspawn in our Wicklow imitation of the North Pole and the Whoopers and Greylg Geese are still next door.

Greylag Geese flying in to land BlessingtonWe are not, of course, wishing our lovely neighbours would leave.  Whooper Swan resting in field BlessingtonThey are brilliant to watch as they shuffle across the fields, making sure not to miss any thick grass and leaving the fields smoother than many lawnmowers!

It’s more a question of figouring out where we are in the natural order after cold and wet spells.

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Interest inside our garden was even greater yesterday.Redpoll F BG

Glorious finches had their day.¬† Hard on the heels of the Bullfinch and Greenfinches of last post (https://cliffsview.wordpress.com/2013/02/05/more-signs/), the sun (and the nut feeder) brought out quite a range of finch beauties, some of which hadn’t been seen too much this year:-

  • Chaffinch
  • Greenfinch
  • Redpoll
  • Siskin
  • Goldfinch

and a special!

Goldfinch BG.

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Chaffinch M with Siskin behind in BG

Male Chaffinch with Siskin behind in back garden

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As I was getting accustomed to the array of finches battling for position on the feeder (not really a battle when the smaller but quite aggressive Siskin is about!), I thought I saw something different.

Could it be a bird long on my list of wannasees?

Sure was.  My first sighting of a Brambling.  It was a female in winter colouring, similar to a Chaffinch but a bit more striking without being more colourful.

She didn’t stay too long,¬† A coulpe of short visits was all I got but it has taken a long time to see…. and to find it at home!

Happy Days!

Brambling F W BG

Female Brambling in back garden

Brambling F W BG


More Signs

Today a Fiach Dubh (Raven) flew over the garden carrying twigs, presumably for a nest.  Bullfinch Male Back GardenPerhaps Féile Bríde still does herald Spring!

To make the cold, wet day even better, a male Corcán coille (Bullfinch) visited, seeking old seed heads in our very un-manicured ghairdín.  This must be one of the most beautiful birds in Ireland and seems to be almost out of place.Greenfinch Female on garden nut feeder
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Chomh maith leis sin, do bh√≠ c√ļpla Glas√°n darach ag beath√ļ ar cn√≥nna.¬† Greenfinchs are threatened by Trichomonosis disease caused by a parasite and their numbers have fallen significantly.¬† Bh√≠ m√© l√°n s√°sta to see them after a bit of an absence.

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Greenfinch male in garden tree

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Mar fhocal scoir, the c√ļpla focal above are in memory of the great Eamon de Buitl√©ar who died a week ago.

Not only was he a very acomplished musician and film maker but he brought Gaelic into his films in a simple easy way that was so welcome after the force feeding that many suffered in schools.

Hi enduring legacy, however, must be the number of people he introduced to Irish Wildlife or that had their passion nurtured.

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Ar dheis Dé, go raibh a anam.


New Creations – What grows in your Garden?

Cherry Trees FGIt’s hard to say that one season is your favourite when so many wonderful things happen¬† or are to be seen in every season, every year.¬† But there is something extra special about the growing season – Spring early Summer – the creation time.

We are lucky to live in a rural setting with a wildlife-friendly garden.¬† Friends may say that the garden is the wildest thing around, but that’s another story!

Every year the garden seems to burst out, encroach and almost threaten, such is the growth in trees, shrubs, grass and other vegeatation.

Making use of the renewed cover, a range of birds ususally nest.

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Great Tit at nest box Box back garden

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This year we we were fortunate to host a number of home makers.  Of those that we know nested in the gardens, there were Great Tits in the nest box at the end of the back garden (now now, less tittering please);
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Woodpigeon Pair BG.

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Woodpigeons nested in both gardens;
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Starling arriving at Nest box with Leatherjacket & Worm FG.

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Starlings brought up a strong brood in the nestbox on the garage.  This was set up as a replacement for the hole in the garage they had used as a nest site before it was repaired!  They are currently feeding the second brood!

House Sparrow M BG
House Sparrow M with nut at feeder BG
House Sparrow Nest under Soffit front of house
House Sparrows are supposed to be in decline but you wouldn’t think it around our house.

Adabtable, they have learned to hang on to the nut feeder and get at the nuts. They have also successfully bred for the last few years in ventilation holes in the side of the house. This year they also used the creeper under the soffit at the front of the house! They make quite a racket in the back garden.
Sparrow F feeding baby BG
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Once again however, Lizzie was the star of the show. She and hubby once again eschewed the old nest box in the Crab Apple tree to use our camera box attached to the house.

Lizzie 2 (Lizzie 2012) had tried to nest earlier in the spring following our original Lizzie family last year (Lizzie 1).  So we call this lady, Lizzie 3 Рof course they could be all the same.

Robin on bird table BGWe are reasonably sure that Robins and Wrens nested nearby and who knows what else?  Magpies have nested most years but not this one Рthere must be higher trees somehere near!

Of the non-avian animals, we have seen Mice, Rats, Hedgehog, Fox and Badgers but the cutest little Fox cubs appeared this year.

Fox cub near den BGSuspicious of their presence, they were captured first on a trail camera but were tame enough early on, to allow a quiet and reasonably still person to observe and photograph them.



Lizzie 2012?

Blue Tit on Cotoneaster bush BG

Having cleaned out the camera nest box not too long ago, I was surprised to see the Blue Tits nearby recently and entering a couple of times.

The starlings had used their nest box on the garage over winter as a roost and had been a bit more active in the mild weather recently.  So just in case I checked the view in the Blue Tit box and was delighted to find a good base for a nest already in place.

I don’t know if it is the same pair or not but we’ll probably call herself Lizzie anyway.

Wishing them well for the future.


Fox News

The various bird nesting activities didn’t make me forget the foxes but they weren’t appearing.¬† So it was brilliant last week to see a pair of cubs playing in the back garden beside the seat, less than 20 metres away from the house windows.Fox Cub in back garden twilight

Behind these windows we had quickly gathered at first sight of these lovely animals behaving like young boys.  They play fought, jumped and chased, quite ignoring us and everything else.

The light was dimming fast and the twilight wasn’t what the camera was looking for but for once, seeing them and their seemingly contented, happy behaviour was nearly enough.

At one stage one of the youngsters approached from behind the bushes to about 2 or 3 metres from our bedroom window Рa treat to see. 

We saw them a couple of times since but they haven’t been as active.


Lizzie – Leap of Hope

Well, over last weekend the remaining Blue Tit nestling got pretty big, seeming to be bigger than the parents but probably mostly fluff and air.Blue Tit nestling prior to 1st flight

On Wednesday morning it seemed to be more erergized, flapping its little wings and moving more.¬† Eventually it made a leap up to a ledge that lets some light in, translucently, for the camera to work in daylight.¬† One of the parents brought food but didn’t feed it the first time, seeming to entice it further.¬† On the second entrance the food was given over but soon after the baby made for the escape hole and stayed there for a while.¬†¬†

The parents fed it there once and I rushed to get my camera, went to a room with a view and managed to get a couple of pics before it made the brave move and plunged into the great ‘out there’.

Blue Tit fledgling in bush after 1st flightFlabbergasted by its new environment, it stayed there, fidgeting for a while with the parents in a nearby bush calling.

Blue Tit parent watching fledgling in other bush after 1st flight

Blue Tit fledgling in bush after 1st flight

Eventually, they managed to convince it to fly to the front of the garden which it did without any obvious problem. 

A good end to their hard work and confined conditions, if not what they may have hoped for.

I haven’t seen them since but trust they are doing well.


Lizzie’s Labours Lost

Well, first the bad news.¬† We came back from the Leinster match to find that the 9 nestlings had become 3.¬†¬† Soon after that there were only 2 and now there is only one.¬† I don’t know what happened to them.¬† They were too small to leave, so presumably have died but of what cause I don’t know.¬† And what has become of the bodies – eaten, removed?

There is good news though.   The one remaining nestling has grown pretty quick over the last few days and looks healthy.  He / she is a similar size to the adults and looks near ready to fledge, flapping its small wings and making the odd small jump.

It is strange that you can be aware of many nests and nesting activities around you, in the garden etc. and although its nice and feels good to see and be close to these things, there is no real emotion.¬† But the nestbox camera forces some involvement – you are with the birds in their daily struggle and can’t help feel emotionally attached.¬† We are hoping that at least the one remaining survivor makes it to the ‘outside world’.


Lizzie – Mouths to Feed

Well, she did it – 9 big mouthed, hungry, Muppet-like babies!¬† Hatching started last week and I wasn’t there to see it:(¬† Had to settle for a text message!

While the other Liz makes new friends in Ireland and ‘makes history’, possibly improving relations and trade between two countries, its hard not to feel when watching the activity at the nest, that this normal life work going on without any notice by most of the world,¬† is actually far more important.

With 9 mouths to feed, there is no time for coffee, the pub or golf or whatever Blue Tits would do if they had a child minder.  What is impressive is how both parents work together to feed, clean and take out the waste.  Many human homes would like such co-operation.


It’s also incredible to watch how quiet, obscure-looking little bundles are electrified by the sound of a parent approaching (or other sounds sometimes).¬† They go rigid, their beaks open like the Grand Canyon suddenly forming and they yell – ME, MEE, MEEEE or something similar. It’s like they are on springs!


Lizzie On Nest

It seems that the Tits have enough eggs and she is now sitting – mostly.¬† She seems a bit fidgety, leaving the nest after hubby brings in food for her!¬† When I say she is a bad mother, my own brood won’t have it, sticking up for Lizzie as she is now known, as only women can.

There seems to be 8 eggs now in total unless some are well hidden (no wait 9!). 


The Video is from just over a week ago.


Newer Arrivals

Didn’t get to see an egg for the last few days in the Blue Tit nest box.¬† She keeps it well hidden.¬†¬† Got a short glimpse tonight though and there are now 5 eggs.

Wonder how many she can deliver?

To be continued….

You may Mandarin Duck M with Tufted Duck F, Saint Stephens Green, Dublinhave seen the post on the Wook Duck on the Grand Canal, from March (www.cliffsview.wordpress.com/2011/03/03/if-you-go-down-to-th-canal-today/), well, yesterday morning on the walk to work, a male Mandarin Duck was on the pond in St. Stephen’s Green.

Only had my pocket camera with me and didn’t do a great job of it in the few minutes he stayed but it is clear that this isn’t a normal Dublin duck.

There seems to be a lot of Wood Duck and Mandarin sightings around lately but I haven’t heard a reason for it.¬† Seems strange as they come from different directions around the world – maybe escapes from a collection?


New Arrivals

Great Easter news.¬† Instead of getting an Easter egg (well actually as well as getting an Easter egg), I got the gift of life for Easter – ‘twould nearly make you religious.

The fairer half bought me a camera nestbox for my last birthday and eventually I put it up on the house wall, thinking it wasn’t a great place and it would have to be moved.¬† Well, anyway, a blue tit started sleeping in it very soon after and before Easter started making a nest in it.

We never saw two of them near the box and sort of thought the ould bird was a bit fanciful.¬† But over the Easter we turned on the video to see a gleaming egg in the nest.¬† Maybe its another divine intervention or maybe the male is shy of cameras but WHEY-HEY, we have a live nest box with a colour camera watching all the poor little mite’s every move!

Seems a bit intrusive at times.  Seems a bit like paint drying at times as well but WHEY-HEY, to know that on the other side of our sitting room wall there is a baby tit (or 10) in the making.

Of course I’ve no pictures for you – I’m not a pervert, well not until I figure an easy way of converting the signals!

AND news number 2!!!!¬†¬† What an Easter!¬† There I was minding my own business and that of a hunter spider I had been keeping an eye on, down the end of the garden,when I noticed a small branch moving in the pond area.¬† It seemed unusual as the wind shouldn’t have reached there.

Next thing, I see 2 ears moving around. I thought at first it was a rabbit that had taken over the old rabbit burrows (a previous owner had domesticated rabbits).  This was a surprise as I was becoming certain that Badgers were there again, due to grey hairs seen there, burrows enlarged and bits of animal remains nearby.

But no, on further viewing it turned out to be a young fox!¬† There we were young fox and I, staring at each other – well me staring at him / her until I had the great idea of pointing the camera in that direction.¬† Young fox disappeared.¬† I sat out for an hour and a half but didn’t get a glimpse again.¬† Hopefully more info / pics to come.

Badgers have  had a tragic time in the garden over the years as at least 2 previous families were  killed by locals worried about commercial cow farming!

It is magical to think of these wild animals having a den in a back garden but not everyone is of the same opinion.  I was told today of a fox seen in a front garden one morning on the way to work, near Ballsbridge, and the DSPCA or similar were called to get rid of him!

More anon, hopefully.