The third egg hatched overnight I think. At first I could see the broken shell by the nest cup, then later as an adult came in to feed I saw three chicks. The photo clearly shows two of them, the youngest on the right. The nestling taking food is the second to hatch, now three days old. The swifts seem to have no problem finding food despite truly awful weather. Yesterday evening the winds were gusting near to 50mph but one parent was always out finding food. The other always sits on the young who would be very vulnerable to chill.
These photographs taken today perhaps encapsulate June 2012 over much of the British Isles!
Yesterday afternoon the first egg hatched. On seeing the nestling for the first time the male(partial albino bird) spent alot of time gently touching it with his beak. Later I saw him feed the nestling for the first time. This morning, the two other eggs remain unhatched. This is not surprising because swifts lay eggs two days apart. This way if there is a shortage of food due to poor weather the first hatched has an advantage and is more likely to survive.
A trip to study the Roller which has been seen near the B1242 at Aldbrough since early June. I was very lucky to see the bird close on arrival. What a beautiful bird, the intensity of cerulean blue was amazing even in today’s dull east coast light. A keen easterly wind was blowing and it felt cold for the middle of June, but the Roller performed beautifully for all there, feeding close for a while in the field before flying low over head. This bird is incredible in flight, effortless and beautifully coloured. I watched it fly up from the field to snatch a bee then drop back down again. It was also taking its fill of earthworms from the cultivated field. And for me this was a most memorable birthday!
There have been interesting developments in the swift box over recent days. A queen wasp has been building a nest inside the box near the entrance. The swifts seemed to be very tolerant but I was anxious that as time went on the nest would enlarge and disrupt their nesting attempt, at best! I need not have worried, the swifts dismantled the structure made by the queen wasp and used it as nest material! I haven’t seen the queen wasp recently so do not know her fate. I took this photograph quickly when both swifts were absent. They are now incubating again.