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Guest Blog - Birdlife 2 - The Return of the Birds

Steve Carrow owns the beautiful Nuthatch Cottage. The stunning gardens are a haven for bird life. Steve monitors the bird life for the British Trust for Ornithology and he is now doing a regular guest blog for us.  This is the second post of the series. 


The first migrants started to return in April, with the pied flycatcher first seen in the oak wood on the 13th, the swallow on the 15th and the redstart the next day. Then on the 28th, we heard the cuckoo was back.

Other less common sightings this month were  goldcrest, tree creeper and a regular on the feeders were some red polls.

Nest building started early in April with some  great and blue tits beginning  by the 7th. the early starters kept to the old boxes. I make the vast majority myself, first starting back in 2005, using marine plywood which lasts really well, although I started to replace a few last year, only one this year, but a couple of new bases, and 2  boxes were put up in new spots. No. 9 was one I almost replaced, it's furthest into the wood, and over the years it has had more species than any other, great and blue tit, pied flycatcher and redstart. It was attacked one year, possibly by a weasel and the hole was enlarged. I have put a metal ring over the hole now to protect it. There's a great tit in it this year and 11 eggs by 5th May.

A great tit nest with 11 eggs in our no. 9 box

Of my 28 boxes, 8 have eggs in, another 7 with nest building going on. Only tits with eggs, none of the blue of the flycatcher or redstart.    The material used is so different with the tits favouring moss and sheep's wool while the pied flycatcher goes for the harsher leaves, grass and bracken.

Different types of nests
Different materials for nest-building











Let's hope the weather stays fair now, back in 2009 a nasty wet and cold spell wiped out all the young blue tits before they fledged.