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.