Monday, 22 May 2017

Eggcellent news

At last.  Today for the first time I can see eggs (two of them) in the camera box.  I have been writing occasional updates on the Nestbox camera 2017 page (tab above) since the tree sparrows moved in on 12th March but there has been very little to write about recently.  The nest was finished weeks ago and although the birds have continued to visit there was no sign of laying.   The structure of the nest is very different from the blue tits which have occupied the box in previous years.  There is a tunnel from the entrance hole to the back of the floor which has meant I have had to reposition the camera several times and the view still gets obscured by bits of nest material.  The birds' activity has increased in the past couple of days but even last night the female didn't sleep in (the blue tits have always slept in for at least one night before laying).  Then this morning she was in the box for a long time and this afternoon I can see this. Whether both were laid today or one was yesterday and I couldn't see it I'm not sure.  I expect the latter is more likely.

There are tree sparrows in several other boxes and in holes in trees in my patch of woodland and some of those have already fledged their first brood.  This was a youngster I photographed this morning that is already old enough to feed itself.

The BTO website says the tree sparrow clutch size is 5-6 eggs and the median first clutch laying date is 17 May so perhaps this pair is not so late.  I expect there will be a few more eggs this week.  Incubation is 12-13 days and fledging is 15-18 days after that so we're looking at the second half of June.  There may well be a second brood to follow.  Lets hope so and that we still have some sort of view into the nest.  Regular updates will be on the "Nestbox camera 2017" page (accessed via the tab above).  I'll also post any major developments, such as hatching, fledging, etc on this main blog.

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