Side box action and fox cub potential!

The weather was lovely on Tuesday morning, so I was out in the garden to do a bit of tidying up before the predicted cold spell hit. With the sun shining, there was action in the plum tree and Discovery nest boxes. Blue tits have been bringing materials in… and out for those for the last week. The great tit has been roosting in the side box and has made the occasional visit in, but today all the classic signs were there… lots of looking, wing fluttering and then a few bits of material came in. Great tits nested in here last year as well. This year, I decided to line some of my nest boxes with bark… for that more ‘natural’ look. This female is not impressed and has spent quite a lot of time trying to remove it!!

I managed to capture a bit of footage of her… quite comical… watch her legs paddling away at the end of the clip. This behaviour is to move the nesting materials to the outside. As they bring more and more in, these movements are what form the nest cup. As the nest gets deeper, they start just turning around and around, thus shaping and pressing the materials down. The last stage is bringing softer materials in to line the nest. As I watch, my mind is just full of questions; Is this the same pair as last year? What triggers them to start bringing in materials? How do they know what materials to collect? At what point do they think that they should bring in the softer materials?…….

In the evening, I was watching my fox cam. At present, I have my original vixen, Fern and her new mate visiting. I also get what I presume are last year’s cubs here too and possibly one female from the year before who helped with the cubs last year. It is very difficult to ID them from the IR. Within the next month, we should start seeing them in daylight and then I usually get to know them as they are all slightly different. One vixen appeared and looked quite rounded. She then turned and it was very clear she was lactating and full of milk!! Somewhere we have cubs!!! I am delighted as hopefully we will see them come to the feeding stations they have over the last two years. My technology has increased since last year, so the footage should be much better. I just can’t wait. I just wish I knew where her earth was……