|Great Tit with tick attached to the eye (autumn)|
|Typical Great Tit clutch of seven eggs|
My attempt to re-site the low box came in time for it to weather last night's storm. It was as I left it - straight and secure and replete with a typical clutch of seven great tits eggs. The eggs are laid on a daily cycle until the clutch is complete, then the bird will sit and incubate for about fourteen days, when the eggs will hatch young. The susceptibility to predation by a whole series of animals and birds is somewhat obviated by the titmice family by the device of laying and rearing in a secluded tree hole or nets box. I took this shot with a minimum of intrusion while the bird was absent from the nest, by carefully placing the top of my mobile phone through the open slot in the nestbox. This particular bird has a fascination with brightly coloured and metallic wool - I have no idea where it can derive.
|Blue Tit lays up to ten eggs|
As the cold days of May wore on, and after the frantic and unusually rapid mating and building spree of April, a relative quiet returned to the woods. This was broken here and there by the disconcerted and broken calls of the hedge accentor, an exceptionally early nest builder. The quiet period coincided with not only the suppression of activity caused by the cold weather, but also the incubation period of the birds on eggs. The end of May saw a turnaround in all fortunes, as the sun shone and temperatures rose. The sporadic rain combined to spur the abundant growth of the belated trees and flowers and by the end of the month all the passarine nests had young and activity had once again returned, with the woods ringing to an outpouring of territorial male bird song.
|Nuthatch is a hole nesting bird in rough unmanaged woodland|