Tyn y Cwm  'Small house in the Valley' Holiday Home - Bird watching heaven in tranquil Mid-Wales
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Winter is Coming
Nearly all fledged
Blue Tits hatched
Plenty of birds and eggs too
Swallows, Cuckoo and Rupert

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Winter is Coming

Strong winds and the first frost tell us summer is now well behind us. 
We actually have had a week away in the sun of Spain, only to return to find the runner bean arch and a tree peony had been blown over. The archway which had been in place since the start of our garden on 2003 has served us very well, but there has been a feeling it had shaded parts of the garden over much, so perhaps the opportunity now to see if it improves things with it gone. Next year will use poles in wig wags for the beans.

Nearly all fledged

Been a while since the last update and a lot has happened, the blue tits have fledged, but sadly one nest didn't, I found all 11 chicks dead inside, so presumably the parents were killed. The redstart nest was quickly made, 6 eggs laid. The box just behind the summer house gave us wonderful sightings of the parents daily. Now all fledged too, and before the pied flycatchers, which have just started, 2 nests gone, 3 still to go.
Pete the bird ringer has been down from the north to ring the pied flycatchers, and has stated this is the earliest date he has had to ring them in all his 42years of ringing, an interesting fact.

Blue Tits hatched

Blue tits have hatched over the past week, four nests, although the other two are a worry. One I'm sure has been abandoned for some reason, 5 eggs were laid, but nothing now for 3 weeks. The other has 11 eggs, and there was a sitter on them until recently. But it is the nest that had the first egg, so I would have expected them to hatch with the others.
The 5 Pied Flycatcher nests all seem complete now with 6 or 7 eggs and all had the female sitting on them.
Still not heard a wood warbler in the wood, however the cuckoo is a daily sound these days.

Plenty of birds and eggs too

Several different birds seen this week, not seen commonly by us, Blackcap, Green Woodpecker and Goldcrest. All in garden or very nearby. Also glad to have regular sightings of Greenfinch.
Nest boxes getting occupied, six Blue tits, possibly five Pied Flycatchers and a Redstart. Seen a little early this year, so hopefuuy still time for more to start nests. Three blue Tits already sitting on eggs, and first Pied Flycatcher egg seen on 6th May, again slightly earlier than previous years.Became aware of the Redstart nest being started on the 3rd and by the 6th, fully built and two eggs.

Swallows, Cuckoo and Rupert

Swallows returned last Monday, 17th April, followed the following day by Pied Flycatchers, Redstarts and the call of the Cuckoo.
Four blue tits have started laying eggs in the nest boxes, not so many nests yet as normal, but I reckon the first egg was laid on the 16th which is the earliest I have had by several days, so perhaps the others will start on the more normal time late April/ early May.
The Dunnocks have fledged, so early, wonder if they will have their second brood in the same nest ?
But the real worry is Rupert our wonderful gentleman cockeral, who doesn't seem at all well.

Nests starting, Dunnock chicks

Activity has started in my nest boxex, with 7 nests having started. Blue tits mostly, although two are uncertain, one is possibly a Pied Wagtail, in an open fronted box, behind the summer house. The worry is that previously this box has been attacked and eggs destroyed.
The other is one of my original boxes, which is situated up in an ash tree completely surrounded by ivy. Also open fronted, it has moss and leaves coming out of it being totally filled with the material. No real idea which bird has made it.

Bees and a hedgehog

Loveley sunshine here and our bees have been really active, returning to the hive laden down with pollen. Seen them drinking in the pools and down in the lower garden. We have lots of daffs around and other early flowers but it is still a bit of a mystery where they get the pollen.
In the past fortnight we have had seen long tailed tits and redpolls regularly on our bird feeders, haven't seen the tits for some time, so a real treat. Checked my bird boxes and only minimal repairs this year, so all ready for the return of our summer visitors.

New Year

Happy New Year to all. The mainly cold but dry winter continues with only occasional wet days, far better than last year this time when we had rain falling on over 40 days in a row. The frost brings great beauty with a little danger. The birds are using the feeders with great urgency, no new varities just plenty of the usual suspects great, blue & coal tits, siskins, chaffinch's, greater spotted woodpecker, nuthatch, robin, dunnock and sparrows. The yellow witch hazels seem to be more forward this year, fully out rather than just a few flowers in January.

Goldcrests and Bullfinchs

Have had a couple of the less common birds around the garden recently, a pair of Goldcrest in one of the old apple trees in the main garden and also a small group of Bullfinch by the log pile in the top garden.
Siskins are back again.
Lots of birds on the feeders, very hungry during the cold week in November, -9 the lowest temp., 2 days the day time temp was below freezing.
Lots of Fieldfares around and some Redwings too. Still plenty of berries around.
Changes in the garden too with the strawberry bed, blackcurrant bushes and a couple of fruit trees coming out, and new ones going in.

Honey and Apples

Autumn has come in with many bounties, our first honey has been extracted and we have in the region of 40lbs of beautiful clear honey which tastes superb, not that we are bias ! The wax cappings, the off cuts from the frames Chris has turned into bees wax and is now being made into lip balm and soap. It  one of lifes wonder how the bees produce their honey, and it is not too difficult to accept they wish to protect it so bravely. It has resulted in several stings and I have learnt the folly of nipping up to the hive to do a quick job, and been surprised to learn that the protective clothing, well at least the gloves, do not give full protection from the bee stings.
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