bird behaviour

Redstart and Swift

Swift under leaden skies- watercolour in sketchbook
Swift under leaden skies- watercolour in sketchbook
Male Redstart- watercolour in sketchbook
Male Redstart- watercolour in sketchbook

Two beautiful but utterly different migrants were back in the area today. A Swift flew fast to the west not even tempted by the abundance of insect life by the surface of the lake. Living up to its name it was soon gone, its passage almost too quick to take in, but leaving me with the annual thrill of seeing my first Swift.
I had good views of a pair of Redstarts back on their territory. The male surely one of our most beautiful birds, vibrating his tail and sporadically singing, the weather was dull, not so the Redstart.

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Bird walks at the Dutch House, Crayke 28/4 and 23/6

I will be leading two early morning walks from the Dutch House at Crayke, North Yorkshire on Sunday 28th April and Sunday 23rd June from 6am- 9.30am. They present a great opportunity to look at farmland rich in birdlife and get to grips with identification and bird song. After the walk which takes 1.5 – 2 hours we will have an excellent cooked breakfast at the Dutch House. For booking details click here.

Wren with moss- watercolour in sketchbook
Wren with moss- watercolour in sketchbook
bird behaviour, Sketchbook

Swallows and House Martins arrived

House Martins prospecting last year's nest site.
House Martins prospecting last year’s nest site.
Swallow studies, watercolour in sketchbook
Swallow studies, watercolour in sketchbook

The first swallows and martins are back. Yesterday I heard the familiar ‘raspberry’ calls of house martins. I look forward to their return each year and last night one settled back into its nest on the front of our house. We hope for a better summer for them in 2013. Hopefully the martins will thrill us with their presence until mid September. I will be updating this blog with reports on their progress through the summer.

bird behaviour

Put up a Starling nestbox

Starling gathering nest material- 13th April
Starling gathering nest material- 13th April
Starling in nestbox- 12th April
Starling in nestbox- 12th April

Starlings need our help and they are easy to attract to a nest box about twice the size of a standard tit box. Mine moved in yesterday and are already enthralling me with their wonderful whistles and gurgling calls made near or from the nest box. They are also a joy to watch nest building as they gather long pieces of straw and grass and carry them up to the nest box. I cleared some grass pieces from the border and the starlings were very quick to find them.