I have had to modify my plans a bit for today. It is beautiful and sunny outside and I am stuck indoors.
There are amazing things going on in my kitchen cupboard.
Anyway I decided to take a break from pacing back and forth and I stood outside to feel the warmth of the sun and Fred lit down on the gate just feet in front of me. He waited while I took his picture and then he sang a little song for me.
Good old Fred.
What is happening in my kitchen that is so exciting?
Sorry if I haven’t got around to visiting your site yet, I will do soon. I am just having a slow start to the day. An hour here or there shouldn’t make that much difference, should it? That is what I am telling myself 🙂
I have been watching my birds.
Rosa has been getting my attention. I was wrong about what she was doing. She has constructed a new nest and the reason is obvious now.
As my landlord commented to me this morning, “I think one of your birds has died, I can smell the beggar.” Yes there is an evident smell in the passage that they nest in. I picked up two dead chicks from under the nest a couple of days ago and at the time I wondered where the others were. They are still in the old nest. She must have been unable to throw them out and that explains her distress. She was still crying yesterday but she is okay today. I haven’t heard that call once today.
She has built a new nest on the opposite side of the passage. All of the birds helped make it. I saw the young from the first brood collecting grass and twigs for it.
This is a very short video of Rosa on her new nest. I want it for the song, This is the joyful sound that has filled my flat all summer.
It is very short but I can just keep clicking replay and I am happy 🙂
The bird in the pictures above was an adult male (long tail feathers) this next one is one of this years fledglings.
You can tell the new birds because they don’t have the long tail streamers yet. Go on, show us your tail.
The Swallows have fledged, or at least they are fledging. They are still in the nest today but they have been out and they can fly.
It has taken me a few days watching and all that you get are a couple of short video’s but for me, my understanding and the pleasure that I got from watching them makes a few days just a drop in the ocean. It was time well spent.
Anyway you should be glad that you don’t have to watch the whole twenty hours of video, that I now have to sort and delete from my machine to free up space.
Here are the best bits.
Yesterday morning there were five birds on the nest, there were five birds on the nest and then there were four birds on the nest. I had missed the very first flight and only realised when number five returned to the nest.
This first video starts with the mother calling for them to leave the nest, there is a little comic interlude of the way that they follow flies, their little heads bobbing in unison and in the last bit the second bird to approach the nest is the returning chick. Does he bring food back or do the others just think that he has?
This next video shows them leaving the nest and returning. They spent most of the day fluttering around inside the little alley way that has become their home and by the end of the day they were all settled back on the nest but this is fledging. Today I think that they have ventured outside and seen the blue sky but they still return to the nest.
These birds have made me think a lot about nature as a whole thing and about life and death in the wild. The caterpillars that I am trying to raise are falling to the parasitoid flies that these Swallows depend on for food and survival. The parents have done a really good job of raising them given the wet weather we have been having. I have often looked out in the pouring rain and wondered how they are managing to raise a brood and now this, flight.
I am so in in love and in awe of them and so damned jealous.
I am jealous because they get to eat those delicious crunchy flies, or perhaps because they can raise offspring in a matter of weeks and not the 26 years it usually takes us. Maybe I am jealous of something else altogether…..
Sorry to have been away from the blogosphere for so long but I have been doing important nature observation work. I have been watching these bloomin’ Swallows for two days hoping to catch the first flight and despite all the video evidence to suggest that it is about to happen it hasn’t.
At eight thirty this evening we still have five little Swallows in the nest.
If one of them would just slip off the nest even just for a second then I would be happy to call that a flight and get on with other business but it looks like I shall be back on the nest in the morning.
It is hard to believe how quickly these birds have grown. I think that they might fledge tomorrow. Tonight we still have five nestlings. I shall do my very best to catch at least one of them take it’s first flight.
I have been so lucky to have been able to watch this.
Three videos for you tonight but they are not very long. They are proper little birds now.
It rained heavily and constantly all day yesterday. I had to have a look and see how the Swallows were doing. I have let this video run for one minute, I could have given you twenty minutes just the same. They can’t feed in these conditions.Just turn the volume up and listen to the rain.
Swallow nestlings can live off their body fat for a few days of bad weather and survival rates are very good, the parents don’t need much of a break to be out hunting and they do get some food in the rain just not much. This morning the sky is clear and blue, they will soon fill those little tummies.
This is another five minute video. You have been warned. You get to see quite a lot of the nestlings as they are outgrowing the nest quite quickly. The video wouldn’t be so long but I didn’t want to move the tripod in case Treacle fell off, plus I like this kind of thing. Best watched full screen.
I was a bit concerned about them last night, they seemed very subdued. At one point mum came and sat on the nest with them for a good five minutes and didn’t seem interested in feeding them at all. Now I think she was maybe just putting them down for the night as mums sometimes do with little ones.
I have watched through a lot of video and we still have five healthy little Swallows and their eyes are all open now.
I think that I better warn you that this video runs for five and a half minutes.
I made it for me because I wanted to observe the frequency of feeds and what happens in the nest when mum and dad are away.
Yesterday I had to wait twenty minutes between feeds but it was raining they are much more frequent today. I counted thirteen feeds in five and a half minutes.
If you just want to skip to the best bit well, at 2:55 you can see first the adult female and then the male come in to feed the starvelings. The difference between the sexes is in the length of their tail feathers (streamers) The male’s are much longer.