Garden Robin

Garden Robin

Sunday, 10 May 2015


I didn't think that this year, for the first time since we put up nestboxes when we moved in over 30 years ago, Blue Tits were going to nest in the garden. There was a lot of activity around 2 of the nestboxes a month or so back but no nest building as such.

This morning B noticed a female going in and out of the Whitebeam nest box so we switched on the camera and to our surprise she had taken in a lot of nesting material. There was certainly none in there when we checked a couple of days ago.

Here's the nestbox with camera in the Whitebeam Tree

and a couple of photos of activity taken from the TV screen. Sorry rubbish photos - light was poor in the room and I was only getting 1/15th of a second plus photos taken from the tv screen are never very good.

It does seem very late to me for a nesting attempt. Of course, it could be due to the cool Spring we have experienced or perhaps one of the pair who were prospecting the box earlier in the year died or was killed. Obviously have no way of knowing if this is even the same pair. Its unlikely to be a second brood as, according to Christopher Perrins in the New Naturalist book on "British Tits", genuine Blue Tit second broods after successfully rearing a first, are very rare in Britain.

I don't have egg laying dates before we had the nestbox camera as I never used to like to open the boxes too much in case they deserted but dates when the first egg was laid since 2010 are as follows :

2010 28th April

2011 25th April

2012 25th April

2013 27th April

2014 14th April

I've used the date eggs were first laid rather than when the nest was built because in past years nest building is never cut and dried as they can spend weeks taking nest material in and out, in and out, before they actually build the nest they will use.

We also have a Blackbird nest close to the house in this climbing hydrangea/clematis. Blackbirds have nested here before and am just hoping its too close to the house for the nesting magpies to find!

There has been an explosion of leaf burst in the last few weeks and the garden is "greening" up nicely.


  1. How exciting RR, it must be fascinating watching the birds on the TV. Judging by your previous dates it is exceptionally late but here's hoping that they may have missed the worst of the spring weather as a result.

    Everything has really 'greened' up in the last week or two up here too and speaking of nesting birds I spotted my first Great Tit fledglings of the year this morning :-)

    Kindest regards and best wishes to all :-)

    1. Thanks David - yes, it is absolutely wonderful to be able to watch it all on tv. Although we have had sad and distressing times when its obvious the adults aren't finding enough food for the young and "survival of the fittest" takes over with the nestlings. Hopefully, with it being so late there will be plenty of food about.

      Well done on the Great Tit fledgling sightings :) I haven't seen any young birds around yet this year.

      Best wishes Caroline

  2. Lovely garden Caroline, must be plenty of moths etc out there...

    1. Thanks Stewart for your kind comment. Not sure why I don't catch more species unless its the 15w actinic skinner not being that effective. Did find a Pyrausta aurata today on herbs which was nice :)

  3. It must be fun to see what's going on in the nest boxes, but sad when you get to see the failures. Just like watching Springwatch! Hope your blackbirds will be safe from the magpies. My hubby witnessed one taking a blackbird chick out of a nest once - glad I didn't see it! Your garden looks lovely. :-)

    1. Thanks so much. Watching the nest box camera can be rather addictive! I've seen magpies robbing garden nests and its very distressing :( At least when a bird of prey takes a bird it dispatches it quickly but, without going into too much detail, magpies don't have the beak or talons etc. so its all pretty horrible. I remember one particularly awful year they were waiting for the blue tit fledglings as they left the nestbox and I spent hours trying to chase them away :(