Early Start… and we missed it!

After weeks of carefully watching a pair of blue tits building the nest, laying the eggs and rearing their young we missed the big event as the surviving 3 chicks left the nest. They must have flown early this morning as they were definitely still in the next as darkness fell last night. Now kicking myself for not leaving the camera recording all night.

Here they are over the last weekend.

The parents are feeding the chicks in the surrounding bushes and trees and I managed to catch a few photos of one of them that crash landed in next doors flower bed. As you can see, it did make it back into the tree after some coaxing and bribes of food from both parents.

It’s been a little traumatic watching the nest over the weeks as they did start with 10 eggs. At one stage they were losing a chick per day and we thought that they were all going to go the same way. However, 3 did survive the last 4/5 days with constant feeding from both parents they’ve managed to avoid whatever afflicted their siblings and it’s good to see them make it out of the box.

Time to start planning for next year and I hope to have better cameras with different viewing angles, plus I will fix the night vision.

Mark

Blue Tit Nest Box Update

As of today there are 4 surviving chicks from the original 10 eggs. The mortality rate seems a bit high although chicks dying is inevitable and one of the reasons blue tits and other small short lived birds lay so many eggs. Watching other nest box cameras it seems quite a few nests have failed or produced few young this year. I don’t know enough to say why for sure but it could be related to the exceptionally warm March bringing the bugs out early and the subsequent cold snap killing them off.

The 4 chicks are getting the full attention of both parents who are doing a good job keeping the nest clean and feeding the chicks. Chicks that have died have been quickly removed. The parents are managing to find at least some of the green caterpillars essential for successful blue tit rearing as you can see from this picture taken today.

Just click on the image for the large version and don’t forget to to watch the live stream from the Nest Cam link at the top of this page.

More updates soon, fledging should be around 21 days after hatching so 8th June or thereabouts.

Mark

Peruvian Aplomado Falcon

Shot details: Nikon D90 with Nikon 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 lens @ 300mm & 1/500sec f5.6 ISO 200
Location: Bibury, Wiltshire

The Peruvian Aplomado Falcon or Falco Femoralis Pichinchae, as its name suggests, is a South American bird of prey. There are two other subspecies; Falco Femoralis Femoralis and Falco Femoralis Septentrionalis. There are a few licenced keepers in the UK but it is not a bird often seen.

Mark

Red Kite

Shot Details: Nikon D90 with Nikkor 300mm f2.8 lens @ f2.8 1/320sec ISO1200
Location:Gigrin Farm, Rhayader, Powys, Mid Wales.

Taken at Gigrin Farm, Rhayader, Mid Wales on an extremely cold and dull day. Shots against the sky were producing nothing much better than silhouettes against a grey, featureless background. This was taken against the trees and required panning to freeze the action at the low shutter speed. Failure rate was very high and this was the best of the day. I think the out of focus background and blurred wingtips gives the image plenty of energy and movement.

Mark