Saturday, 22 August 2009

Old Man Coniston Summit

After reaching the summit via Wetherlam and Swirl Band ridge

Saturday, 15 August 2009


An early morning nap.

Sunday, 19 July 2009

Blackbird Chick Day 15

Blackbird Nest - 4th brood attempt - Day 15

Last night the chicks was left alone overnight by the female.

Saturday, 18 July 2009

Friday, 17 July 2009

Blackbird Nest - 4th brood attempt - Day 13

The day of departure draws near . . .

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Blackbird Nest - 4th brood attempt - Day 11

The last chicks seems to be doing well. Wing stretching.

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Blackbird Nest - 4th brood attempt - Day 10

Checked first thing this morning and found that one of the two chicks and the egg had gone :( I assume it was not a rat since the nest I would have expected to be empty. Not sure whether it was a magpie (which were around early morning). Through the rest of the day feeding continued and I would have expected the Magpie to be back when the parents were both away from the nest ..... so not sure what happened. Hoping this one survives until it fledges. Just been a mare of a season for this female.
[UPDATE] Got home to find the 2nd chick dead on the ground near the nest. Shame, must have fallen out. I even wonder if I had checked early morning when I got up if it would have been alive and could have been put back in the nest. At least it wasn't a predator.

Sunday, 5 July 2009

Rat is dead . . .Blackbird chicks start to hatch (4th attempt at a brood) Day 1

Today was the day I had marked in my spreadsheet for the 3 eggs to start hatching (at this point the rat had still been around the garden but had not been up in the nest the past two weeks. Checked the nestcam this morning and the transformer had broken :( So went to the garden to check the nest after the parents had left for while and found the first chick had hatched. I then noticed that the rat was dead on the lawn! Such a relief - the chicks have a chance. No idea what had killed the rat. I hadn't put poison out only traps, so maybe a cat got it. Assuming no other rat family members, the chicks (3 eggs) have a chance this time of making it through the next two weeks. Went and got a new transformer from Maplin, so up and running on the nestcam again and this is Day 1 for the first chick! :) .... well pleased. Other recordings will probably start from Day 8 (from where the previous brood finished).

Sunday, 28 June 2009

Blackbird return . .

Another shot of the female in the evening sun as she is returning to the nest. Perfect lighting conditions.
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The Brave . . .

After the tradegy of the rat attack and all the young (4) being killed and taken by the rat. The female a few days later was relining the nest. The rat still came back at night and was checking the nest. After the first egg was laid the rat (in daylight) was back in the nest eating the egg, which was the final straw. Consequently we cleared out the shed (left a only a few items in it). I screwed the nest-side shed wall against it's base to prevent access by the rat and battened the bottom (access under the shed). Since then we haven't see the rat and the "mum" has continued to lay 3 additional eggs (Day 7 today - photo). We are hoping that the rat will not return. A trap is laid in the shed itself and a cage trap is outside. This will be the fourth (and most likely last) attempt of the female to raise a brood this year. The first two was attacked at egg stage (probably the same rat).
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Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Blackbird Nest - Day 3 and 4 chicks

Blackbird Nest - Day 2 after 1st Chick hatched

Taken by IP video conference connection (384kbps CIF resolution), three chicks have now hatched

Sunday, 7 June 2009

Second Blackbird Chick starts hatching

Female left the nest as the 2nd chick started to cut it's way out of the egg. Didn't get to see the fial stages as the parent comes back and sits on it! But quite amazing . . .

Day 11 incubation and Blackbird eggs start hatching

Suddenly noticed the parent bird picking up an egg shell and flew out of the nest to reveal the first chick. This video is taken moments after the hatching

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Male Blackbird 14 Days Early with the food!

I've moved the Robin nestbox camera to the shed where the Blackbird is now nesting. The 5th egg was laid today. What is quite amusing is that the male Blackbird keeps bringing food to the nest when guarding it for the female. He looks down at the eggs like he is expecting mouths to be there - sees there are none and eats the food himself!

Monday, 25 May 2009

BlueTit Chicks Fledging

Was woken suddenly this morning with the loud calls of one of the chicks sitting on the top of our bedroom window which was ajar. Shot out of bed realising the chicks were fledging and managed to record the last two leave. Each didn't make it the 20'-30' from the house to the big tree when they tried to get across. They managed to make the distance but couldn't get a perch so fluttered down, The one in the video doing a wall climbing exercise was the one that eventually landed on the windscreen wiper. Picked each one up and placed them in the trees (together) as we have an abundance of cats in the area. Hoping they join up with the rest of the brood . . . the end of another nesting story :)

Sunday, 24 May 2009

Bluetit chicks near leaving

Chicks soon to leave with parent attempting to coax them out - this video taken using a mirror so as to avoid hanging out the window disturbing the birds (hence the reverse image!)


This is a one of the frames from video footage as the parent comes in with food trying to draw the chicks to leave the nest.
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BlueTit Chick Checking Outside World

BlueTit Chick


Day 20 and the chicks are starting to check the outside world!
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Saturday, 23 May 2009

Still shot of the parent feeding

Bluetit Chicks being fed - close to leaving (23/5/09)

This is a sparrow terrace nestbox on the front of the house where the Bluetits nested (they nested in the same box in previous years when it was on the rear of the house). This is day 19 from when I first noticed the parents taking in food. So they must be close to leaving. You can just notice one of the chicks trying to peer out of the hole

Friday, 22 May 2009

Blackbird third attempt at nesting in the garden: Nest Complete (22/5)

Noticed on Wed evening (20/5) that the Blackbird who had deserted (twice!!!) the other nest in our garden was building on the side of our shed in the Clamatis. The location is about 6' from the Robin nestbox so last night I used a short plastic tub (the sort you get sauce/soup in) to make a waterproof housing for the Robin nestbox camera and removed the camera from the nestbox extended the cabling and mounted the camera fitted inside the housing on the perspex window above the nest. Well pleased with the results. The female finished the nest building this morning (short video will be posted) and was sitting at this point for a while. Looking forward to the first egg and hoping the clutch will have greater success than the previous two in the nest on the other side of the garden.

Blackbird Nest - Final Touches

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Great Tit Chicks Day 21 and they left - last four leaving

So pleased that I caught the final exit. Managed to record this remotely while on a trip in Israel using video conferencing technology - came back to the video unit to find the nest empty having left it recording. Had the whole hour during which they all left - this shows the last 10 minutes, with the birds leaving about 8 minutes into the video.

Great Tit Chicks Day 20 still there . . .

Saturday, 9 May 2009

Thursday, 7 May 2009

Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Sunday, 26 April 2009

Sunday, 29 March 2009

Feeding Time for the chicks . . .

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I was sitting about 4 feet away from the bird for this shot. Taken at 100 ISO and 1/100s at F5.6.

Feeding Time - Parent collecting mealworms for the fledged chicks

I've been putting out mealworms since the chicks hatched. The bowl is normally inside a cage to prevent larger birds taking them. Today I thought I'd see how close I could get to the Robin. Initially holding the bowl the bird flew within inches of it but wasn't brave enough. So I put it on the ground. Initially ~4 feet away then about 6 feet away for this shot (100ISO, 1/640s F5.6). Click on the photo to see full size.
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Thursday, 26 March 2009

Robin Chick Hatching Story

Using the video conferencing technology that I support for my company I was able to link the Robin nestbox up in such as way as to be able to dial from my office into the PC which had the camera feed from the nestbox. I suddenly noticed on Friday afternoon 13/3 that the first chick was hatching (Mother was in the nest hiding the view) and ~20 minutes later I was able to record the complete hatching of the second chick since the Mother bird had left the nest (kindly!!) An amazing event - see below

Robin Chick hatching caught on video!

Sunday, 22 March 2009

Saturday, 21 March 2009

Friday, 20 March 2009

Thursday, 1 January 2009

Cairngorm Summit

It was Cold and icey,with compacted snow and ice on the final ascent to the top but worth the climb.

Local Resident at Loch Cottage

Feeding the birds due to the excessive cold weather attracted out the resident vole.