I really had such fun watching the busy whitethroat adults bringing in food to their young at Heather Farm last week! So much on the menu; moth, caterpillar, damselfly and this rather magnificent spider. Good thing there are lots of these arachnids around the grassland! A few of the whitethroat families seem to have fledged already but these parents were still busy feeding today, when I visited briefly for 30DaysWild. I will miss the fledging as we will be going to our beloved Kos in Greece this week! I probably won’t get a chance to blog, but I will be posting a few photos on my Twitter feed @MiradorDesign. So, I’m posting late at night, or early in the hours of Monday morning, to enter this one into the weekly challenges and give myself more packing time tomorrow! Hope you all have a great few first weeks of Summer and I will catch up when I return.
For ShareMondays and WexMondays this week I just couldn’t resist the delightful little grebes, on the Glasshouse Lake, at RHS Wisley Gardens! Both parents take turns on the nest incubating the eggs and warming the chicks, or out on the waters collecting food and extra nesting material to keep their precious brood safe and secure. There were three tiny chicks and several eggs still to hatch when I visited on Saturday. The adults are very busy and will be for some time to come! The chicks crawl up under the wings of the adults to nestle in against their backs for warmth. In this family portrait the male grebe is feeding a nymph (possibly dragonfly) to the striped chick. It was really heart-warming to watch the care these two parents afford their new babies, a truly tender moment.
Wisley’s young wagtails are on a steep learning curve now. They’ve fledged! This series of images is created from stills taken from a video I shot last week on Tuesday. The adults were still busy feeding their five offspring in the nest and the plant pot (yes, they outgrew the nest and spilled out into the pot!). By Thursday only two youngsters remained in their pot. Now they’re all outside getting used to the big wide world. The adults will continue to provide food, while encouraging the fledglings to find their own meals. I’m on my own steep learning curve with video files! This is the first time I’ve used HD video to create stills. There’s a lot to take in and quite a few different methods to use. I think I need to refine my techniques a bit more but it’s not a bad start! This is my entry for this week’s Wex Mondays challenge. Good luck to all entering
There are five hungry little chicks in the nest in the Wisley Growers Glasshouse! Joe and I are continuing to collaborate in filming and photographing these little bundles of fluff as they grow to adulthood. These images were taken last Monday when the chicks were a mere four days old! By Thursday they had already grown significantly and I could see the start of feathers forming. I have been away over the weekend and strongly suspect that when I get back to see them tomorrow they will be practically spilling out of that neat little nest! The biggest chick is always the one to open up it’s beak widest and quickest but all five are getting regular feeds from the adults and seem to be doing really well. I can’t wait to see them again! This adult’s eye view into the nest is my enty for Wex Mondays this week and I hope to update you all further next Monday.
Earlier on this year I got to know one of RHS Wisley Garden‘s Glasshouse gardeners on an RSPB birdwalk (wheel in my case!) around the grounds. Joe and I often chat when I’m visiting the glasshouse and he told me about the pair of pied wagtails that nested in his growing area last year. Birds are far from stupid and the pair have returned to the safety of the glasshouses to nest again. I was delighted when Joe invited me to visit, behind the scenes of the public glasshouse, to see these wonderful little birds bring up their latest brood.
It gave me an idea fo a project that might be just the right motivation for me to finally overcome my difficulties in mastering Premiere Pro. As well as photographing the birds, I’ve started to do some short videos that I hope to edit together to create a little educational documentary about the Wisley Wagtails. I hope that it can be used in the Clore Learning Centre, attached to the Glasshouse to inspire the many children who visit Wisley every year. I think grown-ups will rather like it too!
Last week the female was brooding a total of five precious eggs. It’s an unusual situation for a bird lover in that these adult birds are used to staff walking right by them, even moving their nesting pot around, while pruning and watering. I wouldn’t usually get anywhere near as close to a nest for fear of upsetting the adult birds! The shrub in the pot they have chosen has now started to wilt as it can’t and won’t be watered while the birds are in the nest. The plant will be a sacrifice to the safety of the birds and the joy of being allowed to watch the chicks grow.
I’ve been back today….
There are five beautiful baby wagtails which hatched last Friday!
Watch this space each week for further wagtail tales.
This is my entry for this week’s Wex Mondays challenge. Next week I hope I can share the fluffy chicks with you all!
On Saturday we went to visit family in Somerset to celebrate Easter together. After lunch the grandchildren enjoyed an Easter Egg hunt around the house, with the last egg having been cunningly hidded under Simon’s hat, on his head. When they finally figured it out he was uncrermoniously mobbed for the chocolate treat! After finding all those eggs, we then went off in search of nests. Fortunately they weren’t far off, at RSPB Swell Wood Nature Reserve and Heronry. The heron pairs are busily putting the finishing touches to their nests, high in the tree canopy. They’re well hidden in the dense branches but I managed to get this pair in focus, on the Fujinon XF 100-400mm lens on a sturdy tripod, so that all the children could watch them a bit more closely. It was a dark and dull day so I was pleased to actually manage to get a shot of them! With so many nests, I’m sure there will be plenty of baby herons in the near future. I’m posting this image for today’s Fotospeed challenge. Good luck to everyone taking part!
I’ve been watching a pair of great spotted woodpeckers at their nest site by the canal. They’ve been returning to the same site for many years now! The chicks are constantly calling for food, both parents busy collecting grubs in the tree canopy. They’re nervous and watchful parents with so many magpies and crows in the same area. I usually set myself up hidden behind an adjacent tree. They are still wary of me so I try not to linger too long. I wouldn’t want to be the cause of a failed nest! I captured this image of the female returning to the oak, perched on her favoured lookout branch, before delivering the meal to the noisy chicks. I’m hoping to see them soon when they start coming to the nest entrance to take the food from their parents! Fellow blogger, Spugwash, has already seen his brood popping their tufted heads up and eventually fledging from the nest. Do check out his great images, he’s a wonderful wildlife photographer! So this is my entry for Wex Mondays this week and who knows, perhaps I will have more of them for you next Monday.