Sunday, 10 June 2007

Refugee Springwatch 2

We can’t claim to have seen hungry baby owls eating their siblings or hares copulating in fields or Bill Goodie being patronising to the lovely Kate at Refugee Towers, but……

……Our first 2 wren chicks have fledged their nest. Good luck to them. Where do they go? Probably not too far according to goodie old Bill. 2 gone, 4 to go.

……On Friday, the 4 blackbird eggs hatched to reveal 4 scrawny, featherless chicks with enormous gaping mouths and closed eyes. Unfortunately, by the time I snapped the brood this morning there were only 3 left. The mother remains attentive – keeping her brood warm when in the nest and returning regularly after feeding.

……Previously unmentioned is the vast sparrow colony living noisily in the ivy/Russian vine hedge and in a back wall in the cracks between the stones. We’ve added a bird-feeder and they have quickly adapted to feed from it, as well as making an almighty mess of the seed they drop on the ground beneath.

……It’s been difficult to discern just how many swallow chicks because we’re now not quite sure how many swallows have actually nested this year. IS and I spent an hour today checking out (and videoing) the swallows in the barn. As a result, we have to revise our swallow stats. There are 5 nests in the barn of which 3 are in use – 6 swallows fly in, out and around the inside of the barn at regular intervals. We have seen 4 chicks in one nest, 2 in another and we have heard 2 or 3 in a 3rd nest. Interestingly, the swallow chicks start to open their mouths when they hear their parents chirruping OUTSIDE the barn.
During our stay in the barn we discovered 3 chicks dead on the ground beneath one nest and 2 chicks dead on the ground beneath another nest. Once a chick falls from the 20 foot from the nest to the ground about 20+ feet below there is no way back. We were very sad to find the dead chicks and it may be that the nests were not constructed well enough or they may just have toppled out but perhaps the parents don’t seem to be unduly troubled – they still fly around happily – and they will soon produce a second summer brood.

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