Sunday, 13 May 2012

Broomsticks At Dawn!

 This post is dedicated to my very hard working dad who has been helping me nest record in Scotland this year. He has been checking the nest boxes in our garden back home in Stranraer as well as finding and keeping an eye on a very special nest at his work.

My dad works on the Courisk ferry that travels to the Isle of Skye and he has been watching a pair of Herring Gulls in Mallaig harbour. I love this nest in particular due to unique way in which my dad records it. Upon his first visit to the nest he received a nice welcome from the gulls in the form of a (not so pleasant) 'white shower'!

Gull nest site
The nest location - overlooking the moored boats.

After it was clear that the female had laid her eggs my dad made his second visit but this time he wasn’t so keen on another ‘white shower’ so he came armed! He brought his friend Donzo from the boat who was armed with a broomstick and bravely fended off the gulls so that my dad could get an egg count for me and this photo – well done guys. After the guy's very brief visit to the nest they retreated back to the boat and as soon as they left the female settled back down on her eggs - looks like she's going to make a good parent.

Gull eggs 001
Her clutch of 3 eggs
Apparently these gulls now give the crew on the boat regular ‘evils’ – better watch your backs! The crew on the boat have promised to keep an eye on the gulls for me and my dad shall be giving me regular updates, looking forward to following this one for sure.

As well as his gulls my dad has been regularly checking the nest boxes back home and has just told me that we now have our first Blue Tit chicks.

Careful jungle 23rd April
Eggs on 23rd April

careful jungle
Newly hatched chicks on 11th May

Currently we have 2 Great Tits on eggs in the garden. We did have 3 but interestingly one Great Tit (who had 3 eggs) was ousted by a bumble bee!

Personally I’ve been very busy over the last couple of weeks monitoring nests both in Manchester with the guys and up in Stirling, updates to follow.

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