Lockdown Diary: Tuesday 12.5.20

Though a cold start the cloudless sky and relatively light winds are promising a glorious mid-May day today. Such conditions usually produce very little change in terms of migrant birds, but they make for a very relaxing and enjoyable hour or so in the...

Though a cold start the cloudless sky and relatively light winds are promising a glorious mid-May day today. Such conditions usually produce very little change in terms of migrant birds, but they make for a very relaxing and enjoyable hour or so in the field. As I gazed out over Gunwade Lake (at Ferry Meadows CP), there were relatively few martins and Swallows out there. But then a new wave of House Martins and half a dozen Swifts came out over the blue.
I could watch Swifts all day. It is curious that the bird is presumably named, like Speedy Gonzalez and Usain Bolt, just because it is fast. But they are magnificent when they put a bit of determination into the odd aerial sprint. Every day recently there are about 30 House Martins around the same area of Gunwade Lake. I wonder if these are non-breeders, or just waiting to go and occupy (or build) a nest somewhere.
Talking of nesting, I was surprised yesterday to look out of the kitchen window and see a fully grown speckled baby Robin hopping around. I had no idea Robins had even laid eggs nearby, let alone fledged a family. While looking at this new speckled chap, I noticed that both Great Tit adults are frequently visiting the nest box on the side of our garage (also outside our kitchen window; and the same box in which they raised a family, last year). So, presumably there are little youngsters in that box, hungry and needing constant feeding.
This nest box is one of our most successful historically. Over the years it has has had Blue tits raising broods as well as a colony of Tree Bumblebees, one year. But, after Great Tits spent ages nibbling away at the edge of the plywood of the hole (to no avail), I decided to enlarge the hole in the box with a drill, last year, and since then the Great Tits have shown their gratitude by nesting there.
May is a funny old month. One minute you are greeting migrant birds, the next migration seems on hold and it is all about nesting birds!
POST SCRIPT: I have just noticed that Tree Bumblebees have occupied one of our other nest boxes, close to the house; one which was formerly used by Great Tits. Incidentally, this same nest box also has a nest on top of it, I think from a previous year’s Robins.