Chris Griffiths reports -
After 14yrs of trying, erecting artificial nest boxes etc, last year we had our first successful House Martins build their own nest and rear a brood of 3. Initially, we had 3 pairs, all trying to build nests, but all would fall away from the wall at various stages of build, I would return home from work to see a pile of mud on the floor. The one nest that did stick seemed OK for a few weeks, but I returned home one day to find the nest coming away from the wall and 3 chicks clinging on for their lives.
At the time I had been sticking some loose paving slabs down with a product made by evo stick called "sticks like sh*t" (other products are available) Given the circumstances, I thought it would be worth a shot on the collapsing nest, a few squirts later, the nest was back on the wall and the chicks quickly settled down !!. A week later they successfully fledged. This product obviously did "what it said on the tin" Ironic really, me going to these lengths to salvage one nest, while others around the town were deliberately knocking theirs down, because "of the mess" or so they could paint the exterior of their property !!!.
I thought the "real proof of the pudding" would be to see if this nest would last through the winter, we live in a very exposed spot, 1000ft asl. Well, the nest is still in situ and has been used every night as a roost by up to a dozen Wrens. I have attached a photo taken at dawn today, not up to Kev's standard, but I think I have captured the "sh*t" well.
It is strange why House Martins seem reluctant to use artificial nests, mainly preferring to build their own and also that these Wren's could of used the artificial nests or indeed any of the tit boxes I have around the property, but would prefer to use a "real" nest.
Wednesday, January 18, 2017
Tuesday, January 17, 2017
The last 12 days we have been delighted to share the garden with a female kestrel, and sometimes a male too, visiting the garden and surrounding trees. Yesterday we watched as she waited in our apple tree, before swooping down and catching a vole, or similar, and taking it to an ash stump to devour. Today, she has been around most of the day, preening, hunting and seeing off crows as they mobbed her.
This morning, she was joined by a group of 4 waxwings, which although smaller than the flocks at the beginning of the month, were no less special for that. We were surprised to see them in the milder weather, as it seemed to be only on the coldest days that the larger groups took advantage of the guelder rose berries and crab apples on offer. This group certainly didn't seem particularly hungry, and spent much of the day preening, and making short forays to and fro in the garden and beyond.
Winter's not so bad, after all.
Just a reminder that Colin McShane will be taking us ' Birding in northernmost Norway and establishing a bird observatory' tomorrow evening, Wednesday 18th January. This will follow a short AGM. Everyone is welcome - 7.30pm at Welshpool Methodist Church Hall. Cost 2.50 to include homemade refreshments. Hope you can make it!