Tyn y Cwm  'Small house in the Valley' Holiday Home - Bird watching heaven in tranquil Mid-Wales
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Chicks and Chickens
Bluebells and Egg
Wood Warblers back and first eggs
Oak or Ash
Nests start and sound of Cuckoo

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Chicks and Chickens

All bar one of the blue tit nests have now hatched, the early ones just over a week ago, and the second group in the last day or two. It seems that there will be only four Pied Flycatcher nests this year, but that includes a record, for me, of a nest with 8 eggs. Two others have 7 eggs and the last one has 6. They normally have had 5 or 6 eggs in my nest boxes over the years, so something seems to have happened to them this year, yet the blue tit egg numbers have gone the opposite way without a single nest in double figures, have always had a 12 or 13 previously.

Bluebells and Egg

All four Pied Flycatchers have started laying their blue eggs, sadly no further nests started. However all bar one of the Blue tits have started laying eggs in ten of the nests now, only one not started. Also a Great tit has started laying too.
Seems something has taken the young Robins, but have seen another nest with five eggs in the wall alongside the stream on the new barns we acquired 17 months back.
Have been for some walks in Loftty Bard wood where the bluebells are simply stunning.
Have had two hard frosts this week which have caused damage to some plants, potato leaves blackened despite being covered and some lovely azalea flowers are ruined. 

Wood Warblers back and first eggs

Been a good week, with Saturday bringing the distinctive sound of the Wood warbler in its correct place in the wood. Have tried to upload a short video I made of it singing, without success.
As hoped the Pied Flycatchers have started nesting with 4 of the 5 new nests being theirs, and now a total of 17 started nests. Six have eggs also, all being Blue Tit.
After giving our cocker spaniel, Blackberry, a hair cut, put some of his hair out to see if the birds might want some for nesting and within minutes one started helping itself to some.

Oak or Ash

The oak before the ash saying has been consistently won by the oak every year we've been here, and normally very easily. However this year I think it's a draw, as the oak leaves started to open I realised high up in the ash they were also opening.
The warm weather has really brought on the flowers with the bulbs in the main quite stunning.
As for the birds, have heard the cuckoo a few more times this week. A few more nests have started in my boxes, twelve so far. A Great Tit in the apple tree in the bottom garden, probably ten blue tit nests and an unknown on the bridge.

Nests start and sound of Cuckoo

The sunny weather seems to have started the nesting season in earnest. Nine of my boxes have nests started, eight appear to be Blue Tits, not sure about the other, but it consists of dry grass and feathers, have seen a House sparrow near to it.
The Dunnocks in the privet bush have hatched, all three.
On Thursday, 16th, delighted to hear the Cuckoo calling whilst on our early walk. Having checked it's the earliest they have arrived, but only by one day.

First eggs and Fly Bees

All sorts happened today, firstly on my morning walk through the wood saw a Redstart followed by 3 or 4 Pied Flycatchers. Having checked, it's the earliest date I have ever seen them return for spring. The Pied Flycatcher were already looking into a hole high up an oak tree.
Getting home saw an unusual bee type insect in the conservatory. Managed to get it out, then later saw two more down in the garden. Having looked it up they were Dark Edged Fly Bees, reasonably common this time of year in southern Britain.

Just in time

When we had the barns tidied up, we had a stable door put in the upper doorway of one of the upper doorways, keeping the top door open through the summer as the swallows nest in there. Thinking they are due to return soon I tied open the top door yesterday, then today we saw the first swallow. It's the earliest date they have returned to us, matching 2011.      
Got some of the seats out of storage to treat or wash ready for the new season.
Delighted to finally have some snakes head fritillaries in flower, we have had problems with slugs or just  dying off.

No nest yet, but plenty of frogspawn.

In these uncertain times it's lovely to watch how nature carries on as normal. Frogspawn arrived on 6th March in the largest of our ponds below the natural spring which feeds them. With all the rain through the winter they have been overflowing quite often, but now all is okay with this dry spell. This one pool is crammed with frogspawn, yet nothing in the other pools. The birds seem to be pairing up but no nest building yet in the boxes up in the wood, normally it's into April before they start.

Damaged Nest Boxes

Whilst checking the nest boxes today, phone substantial damage to two of them, whereby the entrance hole has been vastly increased by something.
We blame the woodpeckers, but haven't ever seen them doing it. Cleaned them out in late summer, and there positions are such that they are not visible on my daily walk through the wood so it was a bit of a surprise. Was able to carry out some simple repairs, so hopefully now usable. One other box had a little damage, which looked quite recent, so I'll try and keep a closer watch on it.

Barns nests


Sorry I haven't updated the blog as often as I normally do during the nesting season. 
All the nest box chicks have fledged, only Blue tits and Pied Flycatchers nested in them. The Blue Tits struggled, with one nest all the chicks died and the others fledged in the midst of a cool and wet week, with the number low to start.
The Pied Flycatchers were all good size broods 7 or 6. After the loss of one nest with the female dead on the first egg, the others all fledged.
Pete, our bird ringer friend, came and checked his numerous boxes and found mixed results with one site almost nil, yet another higher than in recent years, but also Blue Tits struggling in the weather.
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