Since 2005 I have placed a number of nest boxes around the garden and in the adjoining oak wood. I had hoped to get some Pied Flycatchers nesting and over the years this has succeeded better than I ever hoped.
All Blue Tits died
Very small broods
However some years things have not gone very smoothly and several of the young birds have failed to fledge, poor weather seems to have been the biggest factor.
Above is a table giving my results so far.
Blue Tits have been by far the most common bird using my boxes. Had a Spotted Flycatcher in 2005 but none since. In 2015 we found a Spotted Flycatcher nest in the woodland garden and the 5 eggs all hatched, however something took the young chicks. It then moved to a ledge above our bathroom window and was successful, returning again in 2016.
Had the first Pied Flycatcher in 2007, and had at least one pair since, building up to 6. 2015 saw 7 nests started but sadly no eggs were laid in one nest so I still feel my record is still 6. 2018 provided the 7 nests all with eggs. Again in 2019 there were 7 Pied Flycatcher nests, sadly
one died in the nest box on her first egg. Another nest was made very late in the season, noticed it on 5th July with the bird by the box, then saw it had two chicks in there. I hadn't ever found a second brood in any of my boxes, so they are all empty by mid June. So I rarely check now after then, but I will next year.
2020 saw an odd year with regard to brood size. The largest Blue Tit nest had 10 eggs and was the only one in double figures, whereas previously several nests had 10 or more eggs. Only 4 Pied Flycatcher nests, but all with large broods, including a record for me of 8 eggs in one. Sadly a very wet and windy weekend really hit them and after 28 eggs only 6 young fledged.
The other species have been Great Tits, Redstarts, House Sparrows and Pied Wagtails.
It's the return of the spring migrants and the sound of the cuckoo and the wood warbler I really look forward to. The earliest return was a swallow on April 7th in 2011 and 2020, but the usual period is 15th April to the end of the month, then May is great to see them around the house and in the wood.
The sound of the cuckoo has been normally been first heard over those last two April weeks, 2016 it was 24th, and the wonderful call was heard regularly in May and into June.
In 2020 the first bird back I saw here was a Swallow on April 7th, and a Pied Flycatcher on 8th April.