Wonder in the Woods

You may remember I posted recently about a special Spring Watch we had at my parent's house. I wrote (here) about our adventures checking bird boxes that they have in their garden. Well, I thought I would give you a little update.

Last Monday I drove down to collect the children from a weekend stay at my parent's house. When I arrived Wilf was excited to tell me that fairies had visited the woods and couldn't wait to take me out to show me where they were hiding.

Wellies on we strolled up past the stream and towards the Bluebells and were quickly greeted by our first winged little friend. Hidden at the base of a tree was a peach adorned little fairy (let's call her Peach) nestled into the grass and keeping an eye on the pond. Having no idea where Peach's friends were hiding, I asked Wilf to show me where the next fairy was hiding.

As we carried on up through the freshly mown path through the Bluebells he pointed and excitedly cried out "there's one!" This time she was sat in the shade, at the bottom of a curly, perfect-for-climbing, tree.

We walked a bit further and after a few minutes of looking (I had no idea where they were) we decided to head back to tell Babdi and Dadcu all about it. As we walked, Wilf told me about the little nuts and coins that the fairies had left for him the day before. I wonder what he'll find next time he pays them a visit.

Later that day I asked my Dad if it was time to check the bird boxes and was delighted when he said they were due to be done.

This time it was Babdi (my Mum), Wilf and I who headed off with our stepladder, paper spreadsheet and code book tucked under our arms.

We had a treat waiting for us at the first box. Last time it had half a dozen speckled eggs in and this time we found some fluffy feathers and could make out a couple of tiny beaks. It was hard to tell how many chicks were squashed into the tiny nest but happily wrote down that there were at least two.

Our excitement continued with the next few boxes and Wilf was able to look inside and see the tiny new chicks, waiting for the parents to return with food.

It was amazing to see how, after a few short weeks since we last checked them, that each box had developed onto the next stage in a nest's cycle. Where before there had been a fully lined nest, there were now nesting birds (boldly refusing to budge this time) and where before there were eggs, there were now chicks.

All of the chicks were at different stages and I was lucky enough to be able to photograph them so we could look at them properly when we got home. There was one box of Blue Tit chicks which had at least 7 tiny, totally balled, newly hatched chicks in it. Wilf made me laugh when I showed him the photo and he said "they're naked? They don't have any clothes on?" He then later told Dadcu that they didn't have clothes on because they were going to go swimming! How a little mind works!

I'm writing this as dawn breaks on a sunny bank holiday Monday. We're staying with friends at a beautiful house in Sussex which has an amazing garden and woodland. I couldn't resist climbing up to have a nose inside a box that sits in a tree near where we've been sat over the weekend.

Unfortunately, without a lid to open up I couldn't see inside properly but there was definitely evidence of a nest having been built at some point.

I can hear the chorus of birds chirping outside the window. I can't help but wonder how many nests and chicks are hidden away in the trees and woods outside.

Isn't it wonderful how nature just quietly gets on with 'life', often quite hidden from view. Much like the fairies tucked away in the woods, waiting to be discovered. I'm so pleased to be able to share a little of this wonder that we've found and hope I can report back again soon with an update on the nests... and maybe the rest of the fairies.