Friday, 12 August 2011

Wildlife update

Whilst things have been ticking along merrily in the garden with the resident animal families I haven't felt the need to do any blog posts about them. But here we go again, once a tragedy strikes it makes me stop and think and remember how I've enjoyed seeing them.

The rabbit family have done ok this year, much less drama than other years with rat and owl incidents and I've only really seen 2 which looked to have myxomatosis. Lots of new blackbirds around and even a large colourful family of goldfinches.

But the little birdies which chose to live right outside the kitchen window and nest in a rosebush where a pair of spotted flycatchers. I'm not sure if I've mentioned them before and they are very difficult to photograph. They are always swooping in a bat like manner for flies and never stay still for long. When they do, they stand very proud and straight and cute.
They nested in June / July and I only really saw one fledgling from that attempt. I presumed they would go after that but they decided on a second brood and I've kept a close eye on them for the last month. It must've been a couple of weeks ago when the second batch hatched as there was lots of squeeking and it's been great watching the parents constantly in and out of the nest feeding. Excellent watching them wrestling with big moths and trying to kill them before heading into the nest with such a big thing for the chicks!

The last couple of days I've heard increased activity, squeeking and when I went out to look at the nest I could see the youngsters almost bulging out of it now so I thought they'd probably fledge by the weekend and I hoped once they popped out I might finally get some good pictures when they sit on the wall to be fed. 
But as you are gathering, it's all changed just 24hrs later. I thought yesterday morning that I heard a bird hit the window but I couldn't see anything. That was until I took the bin out at teatime and I found the motionless body of one of the adult flycatchers, he or she was on the path in the area I'd heard the thud in the morning. So sad to see it there and especially as the chicks were about to fledge, the thought of whether one parent can continue to feed them up or whether they will all survive now was quite a concern. 
It's nature though isn't it and I watched the remaining parent continue tirelessly in and out of the nest with food until dusk. 

I decided to bury the little bird in the garden where he had brought up his kids, it seemed more fitting than popping him in the bin.
This morning, more change, about 3 chicks were out of the nest and bobbing about on the garden wall with the parent feeding them. These are the only pictures I got this morning, the adult is on the stone ball, the babies on the next picture but it's blurry.
They were about until lunchtime and then they seem to have gone now.

Lets wish them well on their journey and maybe they'll be back next year.


Anonymous said...

These stories always make me sad and I know that nature can be cruel but I want everything to survive. It's such a shame it didn't see it's babies go out into the world after all it's hard work!
Vivienne x

patty said...

Exactly, I know it's only a bird but you sort of get to know them, their habits and characteristics and they worked as brilliant parents to those chicks. I'm sure the chicks have had a good start with all the yummy flies in this garden!