An mega update from the WildlifeKate Patch!

Another week simply flies past and activity has really accelerated in the garden. Not only is everything starting to grow at an amazing rate, but breeding activity has picked up too!

With this in mind, I have started a # on my twitter feeds called #nestenders which will appear on the front page of my website. This will give all the latest news and to see the latest videos from each nest box, simply visit its page on my website. I try to upload videos as often as possible, so if you have not seen action on my live cam, you should be able to find out what is happening via this.

The blue tit is still sitting tight on her nine eggs in the Lane nest box and these should start to hatch mid next week, which will be fantastic. The male has started visiting her and feeding her more often now.

The chiffchaff is still incubating deep inside her domed nest and she pops out every few hours, but not a lot to see at the moment. The male is singing in the area and when she emerges, you can hear her long single call. I think this is so they can re-establish contact. He should come back in and help feed as soon as the chicks hatch. Once we have some feeding action, I will put this camera live on my website. Here is a little clip showing the nest and her emerging briefly!

The most excitement has been in the Hub box! My great tit has just about finished her nest, creating a huge lip of fluff and dog hair from my nesting dispensers.

Last week, in the early hours of the morning, a blue tit arrived in the nest box and proceeded to lay an egg! I was astounded!. The great tit returned and promptly removed it…..

http://youtu.be/as2qOl_1_2k

The behaviour over the last few days has given a clue as to what have might happened to this blue tit pair. I guess that their nest had been destroyed or predated. Being ready to lay, the blue tit was forced to just find an available space and chose this nest box! I wonder if the great tit would have accepted the egg if she had already started laying herself… that would have been an interesting scenario; a great tit raising a blue tit! This blue tit pair went on to take up my side nest box and build a nest in record time…. in a day, they had filled the box with moss (my dispensers helped a lots!) and laid another egg in the early hours. Yesterday, they proceeded to build the nest, but this egg has been pushed underneath all the nesting materials rather than sitting on top of the soft materials they are now bringing in.

As far as I can see this morning, no additional eggs have been laid. May be they will finish the nest now and then resume laying. It is all fascinating stuff and this is why I love watching these cameras so much; there are a lot of avian dramas happening in the natural world, many of which we have no knowledge of!

The stock doves and occasional jackdaw are still visiting the kestrel box, but still no takers in there sadly. I have not seen the kestrels or tawny for a few weeks now. May be next year!

I seem to have two regular hedgehog visitors at the moment who just about clear Prickly Diner of its offerings every night, along with a few wood mice as well. One hedgehog, who I call ‘Squint’,  is clearly recognisable by his one small eye. He has visited as early as 9pm some nights, so keep an eye on my live cameras.

The foxes are still visiting regularly and we occasionally get a glimpse of some of this year’s cubs. I have not had much luck back at the fox den as these cubs are much more mobile now and do not hang around the den entrance. I was really lucky to capture the footage I did before they left. I did set the Bushnell up on the field next to this den to see if they were coming out on there at night…. sadly not, but I did capture a few clips of the limping vixen. This vixen is the one that appears with the cubs at my live cameras. This confirms that the cubs we are seeing here, are in fact, the ones from the den I found. I am pretty sure I have more than one vixen with cubs this year, so it will be interesting to see if more appear in the next month to feed at my feeding station.

I am still feeding in the garden and recently purchased a new feeder. In order to get good footage on my cameras and when using the Bushnells, I need a very specific feeding area, so the birds always remain in the same place… this one is perfect. It is a Jacobi Jayne one and has a small platform at the bottom. I have been putting sunflower hearts in it. The finches love it and I managed to capture some nice clips after setting the Bushnell NatureView up on it, with the 460mm lens….. Make sure you choose to watch it in 1080p HD as the quality is fantastic!

Finally, I am delighted to announce that Springwatch are returning to film a follow-up piece to their visit last year. A mention has appeared on their website  and I look forward to welcoming the crew here to film again. All very exciting! The full post can be seen HERE

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I am also in the midst of much organising (and major panicking!) for Gardeners’ World Live which is just a month away now…… just saying that scares me! I have a huge and very ambitious stand this year, so make sure you keep an eye out on the BBC Gardeners’ World website and get some tickets to this great show and pop in and say hello!

Now… back to sweeping up magnolia petals and getting my garden looking its best for its BBC appearance!