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Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Fledglings and Moorhen news!

It's been all go with the baby birds fledging here over the last few weeks! In my last post about the garden I showed a Blue Tit (Cyanistes caeruleus) going into the nest under the roof tiles - well a couple of days later the little Tits fledged! Squeaky noises abounded in the garden and we just had to take a bit of time out to sit and watch their antics. The poor parent birds were looking very tatty indeed, as is always the case after the hard work they put into raising a brood, but they will moult later in the year and have nice fresh feathers before the winter.


"Mum, is this where I'm supposed to go to find food?"

"Like this? I think I'd rather you fed me yourself!"

"Mum! Mum! Feed me, feed me!"
"I'm coming as fast as I can, dear!!!"
(Photo credit: my OH)

"Here, now give me a break and go and feed yourself"!
(Photo credit: my OH)

"Well I can just manage it, but I'd prefer you do it for me as I'm only a baby!"
(See how tatty the poor old parent is?!)

Two weeks later, still not sure where to put its tail!

After a long time of not having seen any Nuthatches (Sitta europaea) on the feeders, they were suddenly back with a vengeance. We realised why a few days later when their fledglings suddenly appeared. The young haven't visited the feeders so I haven't any pictures of them yet.

Poor Nuthatch is also looking a bit bedraggled

I love how they feed upside down!

This is a week later after the young have fledged, but
they are still waiting around in the old apple tree to be fed by parents!

Our common visitors to the feeders, Great Spotted Woodpeckers (Dendrocopos major), also have youngsters which they are feeding from the peanuts.

Great Spotted Woodpecker (think it's the male but hard to tell)

Yes the pole is leaning here. That's partially because it's a pole in a parasol base on a sloping driveway, so the pole slopes. Also because as we discovered when the whole lot collapsed a little while later, the pole was rotten at the base and was leaning anyway! It's now been replaced from our stock of surplus curtain poles from previous houses we've lived in. Everything comes in useful for something, eventually! The whole feeder has been moved up the slope a bit to where it's a little bit flatter now too.

A week later and their young have fledged too. However this youngster isn't even trying to
feed itself yet. (Adult male with red marking at back of head on right
and all juveniles have a red cap. Females have no red on head.)

We haven't seen many females around - maybe they are having a rest!

Grey Herons (Ardea cinerea) have started revisiting recently

Now I have some exciting news about the Moorhens! One solitary one has been coming up to feed from the duck food by their shed, and we thought it was alone without a mate. Yesterday morning I saw a Grey Heron come in to land at the garden end of the pond, then very surprisingly saw the Moorhen run at it full pelt, whereupon there was quite a flapping of Heron wings. A bit later my OH reported that he'd seen the Moorhen trying to chase off a wild Mallard female that was on the pond. The penny dropped. Aha - maybe they have a nest somewhere; this would account for the aggressive behaviour, and the fact the Herons have been coming by! 

So yesterday afternoon I went to check out the 'Moorhen tree', a willow that grows out over the water. Sure enough, there was a great big nest in it! I could hear a few 'mips' coming from the other end of the pond, so had a look through my camera lens (as I didn't have my binoculars with me) and lo and behold, I saw this..... (very rubbish photo as I was taken by surprise and a nano-second later they had disappeared). Neither of us can believe how we missed the whole nest building and brooding period! I guess the signs were there - Mr Moorhen was coming up for food to feed to Mrs Moorhen who was sitting on the nest, and Herons around hoping for a tasty chick. She's now back on the nest with at least two pompoms under her - and maybe more eggs to brood. Time will tell, but we are soooo excited as they only had an aborted nest build last year and no babies. And I shall be chasing off herons!

Can you just make out two blurry little black pompoms?

I'll finish off with another funny :-)

Photo bombed again!
The new pole on the feeder - at least it looks nice and straight now!
However that pole to the right, holding up the wires for the raspberries, is definitely wonky!


  1. How nice! and looks like they have lots of yummy food... your place is so beautiful ahhhh

    1. Thanks Miss Lady Bug - you are so sweet you even said it twice ;-)

  2. How nice! and looks like they have lots of yummy food... your place is so beautiful ahhhh

  3. Wonderful! Now I'm eager to see Moorhen chicks!!! Oh...and kudos to your OH for his great images :-)

    1. Thanks Marianne! Haven't seen them again since but this year they have had the babes early whilst the pond is still full - other years when the level drops (after the stream dries up) it is much easier to spot them wandering about on the rocky sides of the pond under the overhanging trees. I guess they have better cover this year against predators though! Oh and now my OH has photos of baby nuthatches. Dang. He'll get an even bigger head if I tell him what you said! :-)

  4. HA re your other half, Mandy :-) Mine has become quite the photographer and even had someone ask him for photo tips!!! He always credits me but he has a fantastic creative eye. I'm just happy he enjoys it as much as I do as it means he's always willing to get up early for a sunrise photo :-)

    1. I'd never get mine up for a sunrise photo!!! Actually he was interested in photography many years ago, but never got really into it, or at least not during the time I've known him. However he does like to collect things so I have benefited from a nice range of Canon lenses. :-)

  5. super bird shots Mandy; beautiful birds. in lovely settings too

    1. Thanks very much Carole and nice of you to visit and comment!