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Arnside and beyond

Blipfoto.com

Monday 30 May 2011: Punk

This little punky blue tit has a nest in an unusual place. I noticed the pair coming and going a couple of weeks ago from our bedroom window. They are squeezing between the end of the gutter and the barge boards on our bay window at the front of the house. Quite where they are going then, I don't know - perhaps there's a rot hole in the barge board and they are somehow getting through that under the slates.

Today when I was in the garden weeding the vegetable bed, at least one of the youngsters was out of the nest, while clearly several others were still in there. The parents were bringing food in every minute or two, this little one has a beakful of ants I think. It's amazing how quickly they find food, ther eyesight must be remarkably acute.

I was up early to do my wetland bird survey in fine drizzle. The numbers and species found were a bit disappointing. After a promising start earlier in the year when the fields were lying wet, we had hopes for breeding curlews, lapwings, oystercatchers and redshanks. The dry April was perhaps the crucial factor that caused them to go elsewhere. There were a few birds about today, but I wasn't convinced any of them had successfuly bred.

On the way home, I stopped to have a look at the shore in Arnside. Having said to Laffingnomi a week or so ago that there were no breeding house martins in Arnside, I watched at least 10 birds collecting mud from the shore for their nests in the big houses on the promenade. I guess mud is the crucial factor, inland on the limestone where there are no streams and few ponds, there isn't the nest material they need, and they don't nest near our house half a mile inland. On the shore though there is an ample supply. Interestingly, as the females were collecting mud, the males were taking the opportunity of them being on the ground to have their wicked way.

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