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May 19th- oystercatcher, fledging tree sparrows and median wasp

A box full of tree sparrows fledged this morning. I watched one make its maiden flight, straight into the glass recycling bin! I placed it in the dense beech hedge where its parents soon began to feed it.

A magnificent queen median wasp collected wood scrapings to pulp for her nest today. It was a really impressive insect (mistaken at first for a hornet) but it was far too busy to take any notice of me sketching a few inches away. Median wasps arrived in the UK in the 1980’s. They are the second largest species of wasp in the UK and build nests that hang from a tree branch.

We had a wander down to the beck to look at the sand martins, now my son’s favourite bird. A maximum of eight were zooming around the bank in the strong westerly breeze. An oystercatcher was feeding in the pasture beyond. A spotted flycatcher is staking a territory near the house. As I write it is singing constantly, a sound so thin that you sometimes think you have imagined it.

Swift Diary

Still no sign of new arrivals. Our pair were out except for the occasional visit to add nest material. With the big numbers reported in the south of France yesterday, we must surely be due an arrival in the next day or two. Watch this space…

My good friends Mark and Jane Glanville in Bristol have a superb colony of swifts on their house. They work tirelessly for swifts in Bristol and far beyond. You can read more about their work at the link below. Mark keeps a brilliant daily blog and I like to think that our blogs are complimentary as they highlight two very different colonies; my one pair in a colony just two years old, to their twenty or so pairs in a well established colony. Do read Mark’s blog, you will be very informed throughout the season.

Bristol Swifts 2020 blog

Mark has also been involved in designing a superb range of nest boxes now manufactured by Peak Boxes. Their website tells this story.

Peak Boxes

Tree sparrow fledgling, the fly is real!

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