Clean up time again, this particular site is very satisfying but cleaning the nest box is always approached with a certain trepidation, to get to it I have to climb 384 steps, I know I count them to pass the time on the way up. Approaching 57 now I am not the man that I once was, my body tells me this daily but I look at it that it is a necessary evil and the exercise is doing me good. It’s hard to think that way when you’re on step 296 and you’re gasping for breath, this could be down to the large bag of substrate on my shoulder though….
It gives me immense satisfaction to know that the nest box has made the difference, it make every step worthwhile, this particular pair have now used it for the last 3 breeding seasons, prior to this they failed due to exposure and egg rolling.
Eventually arriving at the nest box I firstly checked the area for prey, I was not expecting too much as this is a pair that don’t hold to the site after breeding and I had already checked it in the Autumn. A couple of feral pigeons including a fresh one but also present were 2 Moorhens and the upper mandible bill of a Black Tailed Godwit, Ed will confirm this hopefully, the only other possibility would be Snipe or perhaps a Bar Tail.
|Looking at it again possibly lower mandible of Black Tailed Godwit|
The Moorhens I suspect are evidence again of nocturnal activity, like Coot they do tend to move round in darkness, it is not a bird you see flying around diurnally, only perhaps flushed and flying low from a point A to B.
The box itself showed she had already been busy, a large ‘scrape’ had already been made in preparation for egg laying, the rest of the box appeared surprisingly clean, I expect this was down to the recent gale force winds. None the less I gave it a scrub and put some fresh substrate in and also made her a new ‘scrape’ she will no doubt modify this to suit herself.
|Before with scrape, surprisingly clean|
After - substrate ramped up outside to allow for chicks going for walkies, from 10 days old they are pretty mobile
I had picked a good day, very cold up this high but wall to wall sunshine, amusingly both Falcon and Tiercel were sitting not a 100 metres from me together watching the proceedings, early days yet but there on territory.
Fingers crossed for another good year, they produced 4 juveniles in 2013.