Twenty Speckled Eggs
We enjoyed our own little Spring Watch this weekend on a visit back to my parent's house, tucked away in the Pembrokeshire countryside.
After a busy week with lots of family gathering together for my Gran's Memorial Service it was lovely to all (12 of us in total) get away and spend time together. We laughed, cried, enjoyed good food, wine and reminisced. It was very special.
My parent's live in an old Welsh Farmhouse and are blessed with a magical garden. With woods, meadow, river and a lake it is a haven for wildlife and flowers. Last year they were asked by a friend who works for the RSPB if they would like to have some bird boxes to record the activity of nesting birds each Spring. They didn't need to think twice and 13 boxes were put up in various spots around the garden.
Yesterday, Wilfred and I accompanied my Dad to check the boxes. Once upon a time I was a Business Analyst, so when my Dad gave me a handdrawn spreadsheet and a guide to the various codes to write down I was sadly overly enthused and excited!
We headed out to the first box which is closest to the house and next to the stream. My Dad, along with his step ladder, climbed up, tapped the box to gently warn any nesting Mum and opened the lid. On the previous check it was coded as having a fully built nest so we were delighted to find 6 tiny speckled eggs sat there. Dad asked me to put my hand into the nest as we needed to check to see if the eggs were warm. I gently popped my hand into the perfectly formed nest and carefully felt the delicate eggs with my finger tips. Wilf was allowed to take a LOOK too and was fascinated. He did ask, "can I eat them?" though so not sure if he fully grasped that they were bird's and not chocolate mini eggs!
The next box had a nest ready and waiting and was duly recorded with NL (did I mention I like spreadsheets?) Number 3 was unfortunately empty but box number 4 had another treat for us. This time, when my Dad opened the box he whispered that there was a Blue Tit sat in it. He climbed down from the ladder and invited me to take a look. Well! I nearly fell off the ladder in fright when the Tit shot out of the little hole at about 100 miles an hour! Dad told me to quickly count how many eggs she was sat on, 8 in total, and we swifly shut it back up to the sound of her chirping (protectively) on a nearby branch.
This careful, precise and wonderful pattern continued around the field, into the woods and back to the house. Wilf wasn't satisified with the response "there's no nest in that one so there's nothing to see", of COURSE he wanted to look inside every single box regardless.
We counted 20 eggs in total and found a more confident Great Tit nesting in box number 11 so who knows how many more eggs were there too.
In the haste of trying to do things quickly I didn't get a chance to photograph any eggs but this wonderful picture (taken by my Mum) of a Song Thush's nest recently is just beautiful!
Sadly, this nest was built too low to the ground (not in a box) and was knocked down, probably buy a badger, and the eggs were lost. When my Dad text us a few weeks ago to tell us about his discovery we were all very sad. Such is the way of nature though I suppose. All my parents can do, and us when we go to visit, is to quietly observe, record (did I mention I like spreadsheets?!) and enjoy the absolute wonder of it all.
We're going back down again in a few weeks and I really hope I get to join in again, hopefully we'll be able to record the activity of some little chicks by then.
Here's to Spring and new life!