Sketches and notes from Gilling East
From today I will be blogging three times a week. Sunday, Wednesday and Friday. It will be very much business as usual as I continue to observe and sketch wildlife and landscape close to home. I have been so grateful to the many readers from far and wide who have joined me over the last 16 weeks or so. I look forward to continuing to share what the coming seasons bring. If you would like to receive an email as continued blogs are published please click on the link on this page.
The house martin nestlings are now nine days old. The parents no longer have to enter the nest to feed them. As they land orange and yellow gapes appear, accompanied by cricket like begging calls. A very quick feed and the adults fly gracefully away. Of all the events I have observed since the start of this daily blog attracting house martins to nest on our house comes close to the top of the list. They are beautiful fliers. I love to watch their graceful descent to the nest, a pied flash as they disappear under the eaves. For me their calls equal swifts’ screams as a sound of summer. Their trusting nature is so endearing and yes, I find myself talking to a little black and white face as it stares down at me! Their presence brings back memories of houses I have lived in and schools where they used to nest and show that wildlife can be an important constant through life.
Yesterday a swift entered a tree sparrow nest, in a swift box. As I have mentioned before tree sparrows love swift boxes and will use them willingly. The prospecting swift went straight in, almost blocking the entrance, but quickly ground to a halt due to the sheer density of material used by the sparrows. To my surprise the adult tree sparrow within squeezed around the swift and shot out on to the top of the box. Here it scolded the swift with harsh calls, but made no attempt to enter or intervene.. It seems from this observation that swifts are easily dominant over tree sparrows but their nest design would make it hard work for a swift to occupy. There is so much material in the nest, much of it long grass but also plastic garden string. Either of these materials could easily tangle a swift and pose a threat to its life.
Prospecting was intense again this morning, but by mid morning the swifts had moved on with the weather cooler than yesterday. I have not seen any swifts save our adult pair, since mid morning. Our young swifts look very beautiful at the moment, their wings probably full grown. I expect them to fledge in the next few days