I sense that 2011 may be a good year for our summer visiting 'African' birds. I've got 6 nestboxes set up around my garden and a total of 3 are occupied by pied flycatchers. Two pied nests have chicks and another has a sitting female. Another box has a blue tit nest with chicks and another box has a nuthatch. Only one box is unoccupied. I have a selection of box designs around my garden. Two occupied by the pied flycatchers are of the 'woodcrete' variety manufactured by the German company 'Schwegler', the nuthatch also occupies one of these boxes. Another made out of recycled 'car seats' is occupied by a pair of blue tits and lastly the cedar box attached to my house with a nest cam attached within which is also connected to my TV is occupied by a pied flycatcher. The box with a nest cam has in previous years been occupied by great, blue and coal tits respectively. So basically whatever type of box you put up in your garden will benefit the birds. Last year I didn't have any house martin nests at all yet in the past I have had 21 nests! However the house martins are back in force this year with several pairs endeavouring to build nests under the eaves of my house. Some pairs have obviously decided on a location but others are still searching for the ideal spot. I've got 'globules' of mud all over the place on my rendering under the eaves of my house! I haven't checked the other half a dozen nestboxes erected on trees around the edge of my field bordering the river yet but I know for sure that another pair of nuthatches has occupied a 'schwegler' woodcrete box.
The Pied Flycatchers are remarkably tolerant birds. I have been engaged in some serious ground preparation next to one box containing young chicks and the female pied has been feeding her brood frequently oblivious to my close proximity to the nestbox. (The male although present takes no part in this task). The female has her work cut out as she feeds her chicks literally from dawn till dusk and I bet once they vacate the nets we wont see any pied flycatchers about again! They sure are an enigma these birds but I absolutely love them to bits! BBC 'Springwatch' forget 'Ynyshir' come to me instead!
9.15pm 24th May- Update on the sitting pied flycatcher nest with the nest cam.
I've been watching this female for around 4 hours now and she has vacated the nest at least 6 times during that time. She is very restless. There are 7 eggs in the nest (the usual clutch is 5 to 8 or exceptionally 4 to 10). I watched her antics by eye from my utility room and I reckon she was being chased by the male bird around my apple tree. So has she indeed laid a full clutch or are there more eggs to be laid? Or is she just keen to capitalise on the amorous attentions of the male bird? Who I reckon has no less than 'three' 'spouses' in the confines of my garden!
I've got a microphone on my nest cam and watching it I can hear the beautiful fluid song of a male mistle thrush singing at full voice from atop a fir tree on an adjacent holiday property.
If you want too see my nesting pied flycatcher for yourselves then you are welcome to call by if you are up my way.
It's now 9.38pm and the female has been off the eggs for a good 5 minutes, where has she been? It's getting quite dark now. So will she finally settle down for the night?
It's 10pm and I guess the female has decided to call it a day nevertheless she is still restless, occasionally burying her head in her 'scapulars' then shuffling around and turning her eggs. She is forever restless. Is this the measure of the bird? Are they forever restless eager to get back to their African equatorial forests?
Anyway its time for me to retire to my bed now after an exciting few hours being privileged to watch the antics of one of Wales' most endearing summer avian visitors the pied flycatcher.