A close shave for my chiffchaff!

I have been watching my chiffchaff nest closely for the last few weeks, waiting for a sign that the eggs have hatched and we must be very close now!

This morning I was checking the i-Catcher Console footage (motion detection software monitoring all my cams)  and noticed a big ‘blip’ on the timeline of the chiffchaff nest. This indicates quite a lot of movement. My heart sank when I the video showed the nest moving around… as if something was pulling on it. I watched it carefully. For a few seconds the nest moves and is pulled downwards. The chiffchaff exits very quickly right at the start.

After a few moments, whiskers are seen on the edge of the camera. This cam is mounted on a pole off of the ground and the whole area is dense bramble and ivy.  I can only assume it was  rat possibly, but whatever it was, it did not seem to actually destroy or raid the nest. Within ten minutes the female chiffchaff rather tentatively returns and re-enters the nest. The nest is somewhat pulled downwards now, but she has been in and out in her normal fashion today. She does not seem to be feeding, but just leaving every few hours to feed. I hope I see evidence of feeding soon to tell me that the chicks have hatched and I hope whatever visited last night does not return!

This footage is not in real time. The entire video represents about ten minutes of time, but just shows when movement happened….