Wriggly season

It’s the season for caterpillars of all sorts (though we could do without the Large Whites on our cabbages).

Flying and more

Twenty eight days old and the two stock dove fledglings have learnt to fly, though they’re still living in the nest box.

What we hadn’t noticed was that one of the parents had returned to nest with the two fledglings. This wouldn’t normally happen (they would only return to feed them) and we have found out why: the adult, now clearly female, is sitting on a new clutch. Stock doves do lay more than one clutch each year, but it is a bit unusual to not even wait for the first to leave the nest.

You can just make out an egg under the female dove.

Hungry doves

Fifteen days old and the two stock dove fledglings are almost ready to fly (but fortunately can’t leave too soon because of the high entrance to the barn owl box). They’re still growing though and the adults are busy trying to satisfy their hunger while not get trampled on at the same time.

Roach hunter

The first sighting of a cormorant on the pond. Not really what we want to see now we have fish in there, but it’s nature doing its thing. The roach will just have to learn to move quicker.

Young doves

Six days old and the two stock dove chicks are already losing their fluff as their new feathers appear. In only three weeks time they’ll be fully fledged and will have left the nest.

Not as cute as barn owlets but we think they have a certain charm.

She’s back

When the stock dove left the nest a few days ago (after unsuccessfully incubating a single egg) we took the opportunity to check over the nest box and move the camera. Within a day the stock dove returned and is now sitting on two new eggs. No sign of the male so she’s in for a long self-isolation. Quite determined behaviour!

Mud pies

A flock of house martins has descended on the lake to collect mud for their nest building. We thought they were swallows but the white rump, shorter tail and lack of red on the face = house martin.

Tipton’s Croft isn’t always about owls!

Fish!

The lake has filled and improved enought to add some native fish, so in goes a bucket of roach, accompanied by some expert advice.

A bit of cold fresh water and they all sprung into life and disappeared into the depths.

Greylags

A group of Greylag Geese descended on the lake today, just for a brief stop over, which is just as well because the lake’s a bit small for geese, who would make a lot of mess and annoy* the tadpoles.

*in other words, eat

St Mark’s fly

Swarms of them in the field, usually appearing on the 25th of April (St Mark’s Day) but a day late this year because it’s a leap year?! Weird-looking things dangling their legs in the air, but they don’t bite and are good pollinators so we’re letting them do their thing.

Fight!

Here’s the stock dove minding its own business on the nest when a jackdaw comes in and tries to get the eggs. Dove 1 Jackdaw 0.

Update 2020.04.11 Unfortunately the jackdaw eventually won when the dove decided enough was enough and abandoned the nest.

First egg of the year!

At last the new nest box is being used properly, but not by the owls. A squirrel has spent the past few days filling it with nest material and it has now laid an egg. Hopefully the first of a few (squirrels lay up to eight each year). Won’t be long before we have lots of cute little baby critters!