Saturday, 18 May 2013

An abandoned Robin's nest with eggs and Dougal comes to stay

Another beautiful day here, warm and sunny. Teddy is overjoyed because his best friend Dougal has come to stay for a month. Dougal is my mother's Westie and the boys have been best friends since they were pups together four years ago. They're not related and their names are entirely coincidental, but fans of Father Ted will appreciate the joke!



They spend most of their time play-fighting and consequently are exhausted by the end of the day. It's like having two fluffy children in the house.



 Before Dougal arrived I had an early morning patient to see. She was running late so Teddy and I had ten minutes peace in the sun on the bench at the top of the garden listening to the bees who were buzzing in a shrub near the clinic. I don't know the name of the shrub so any suggestions gratefully received, but the bees seem to adore it, which is good because last night I rescued a honey bee from the house only to find him dead this morning. Good bee news was therefore very welcome this morning.



 Our apple tree is looking magnificent this year. The blossom is just starting to flutter down and pepper the lawn. Bees are all over it too.






I think I mentioned in a previous post that we lost our Head Robin a few weeks ago. I have missed him/ her singing in his/ her place in the magpie nest tree. Well, some weeks ago I became aware of a nest that had been made in a plant pot on an old set of shelves that lean against the back of the house. It's a protected and quiet place because the back door isn't used and I've been keeping a discreet eye on it. Not having seen anyone moving in or out of it at all I decided that I would check it out today.
There were three eggs in it, but it was clear that no-one's been there for a good while because there were spider webs across the eggs. M bought me a very good book last year - the BTO Field Guide to Identifying Nests, which I hadn't yet had a chance or a need to use. With a sinking heart and a pretty good idea of what I was going to find I looked up Robins and sure enough it does look very much like a Robin's nest. I suspect it belonged to our poor lost Head Robin, who must have died or been killed just after laying the third egg before having a chance to brood them.

I feel we are not doing very well with our garden birds this year and that saddens me. There is still time I know but I really would have expected to have seen baby robins and bluetits by now. By the same time last year there had already been several different baby birds in the garden. So far this year we have only had the Blackbird's Child, and that ended sadly. Ho hum, it is nature I know (I seem to be saying that a lot this year) and I will just have to keep fingers and toes crossed.









11 comments:

  1. Oh, that's sad.

    I find it quite difficult to spot nests here, there's too many places for them to hide. Much earlier in the season though I came across a tiny nest (wren?) in a berberis I was pruning. No eggs, but it looked recently tended, so I felt very bad about that.

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    1. Wren nests usually have a small round hole for the entrance rather than an open top, if that makes sense? I am constantly amazed and humbled at how brilliant birds are at constructing nests, and how inventive and adaptable too.

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  2. Very sad. So pleased Teddy is having a good time. What is it with Terriers and endless play fighting. Snippet never stops and his more Labrador-ish friends get bored after about five minutes!

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    1. He does it to the point of exhaustion then collapses and sleeps for hours! Just like a baby. BTW, I thought the drawings you did for John were superb. Always hard to pitch the price right I know but don't under-sell yourself when it comes to charging for them.

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  3. What a beautiful nest-such a shame it was abandoned. I think the very cold long period this year has slowed everything down. The garden plants, the seagull nests and trees here are way behind the last few years. Just listening to the blackbird song now, over the rain drops. No nests in my garden yet but I remain ever hopeful.

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    1. It is a lovely nest isn't it? They are just so clever. We tend to find them in the autumn and I'm always amazed at how well hidden they are. Love listening to blackbirds- one of my most favourite sounds. No rain here yet but I'm sure it's on the way...

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  4. I love the two Westies together! I'm glad the bees have found the blossom. And it is sad about the robin's nest; I haven't seen many baby birds, either (although the blue tits are all flying in and out of the boxes fine) I'm hoping the others are late rather than failed.

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    1. I know- all that hard work constructing the nest and laying the eggs and all for nothing. The blackcaps haven't been much in evidence this past week so I am really hoping they are now sitting, and my little one-legged Dunnock is also not in the garden as often as usual. Am hoping this all means they are busy raising young. Finger's crossed for your blue tits too. CT x

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  5. Hi CT, Teddy and Doug look so sweet together, the photos of them are lovely, I can see they're having great fun and will be tired out by the time Doug goes home :-)

    Apple blossom never lasts long enough but it's such a lovely sight while it does as your photos show. My apple tree always blossoms well, not much fruit last year though. Your mystery shrub wouldn't be a type of Honeysuckle (Lonicera) would it? It's difficult to tell from the photo. The bees certainly adore it as the common name suggests.

    Such a shame about your Robin and the nest :-( I missed commenting on your last post but was intrigued by the Cuckoo 'changing its tune'. That usually happens at the end of the breeding season so not sure what is going on. The male is the only one to actually call 'cuckoo' though. The female has a sort of bubbling sound. I think there can be variations in the 'cuckoo' of individual males too.

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  6. Apologies CT, I think I called Teddy's pal Doug instead of Dougal, I think it was because I encountered a little dog called Doug yesterday!

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    1. Hi SB, I think you are spot on about the honeysuckle, it does look a lot like one. D'you know I'd never made the connection with the common name before. How stupid is that! It was staring me in the face.

      Re Dougal we all call him "doog" anyway, so you weren't far off!

      Re Cuckoos I've just posted a load of info I'd discovered on them, some of the facts were really interesting and things I hadn't heard before. They are definitely cuck-cuck-cooing here now.

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Thank you for leaving a comment. I always enjoy reading them and will try my best to reply to every one. CT x