A strawbale building is under construction on the St.Ann’s Community Orchard, and it already has an occupant. A Wren (Troglodytes troglodytes) has built a nest amongst the insulation at the top of the building’s timber frame, and accessing the nest via a hole in the soffits which is yet to be closed up. I was able to take a couple of photos; they’re not great quality, as I didn’t want to get too close, nor to use the flash, for fear of alarming the birds.
The nest is a well-constructed ball of vegetation, with just a narrow opening near the top; this is probably the origin of the bird’s latin name, which means “cave dweller”. In this photo, an adult bird can be seen at the nest’s entrance, regarding me warily, whilst the yellow gaping mouth of one of the hungry chicks is also visible….
In the second photo, the adult bird can be seen out of the nest, about to go foraging for caterpillars to feed the chicks with….
The birds seems fairly used to people, and untroubled by the ongoing building work! Hopefully the building’s first occupants will successfully fly the nest in due course…
Keith Turner sent this photo of a Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus), which he spotted visiting the spire of All Saints Church near the Arboretum…….
Presumably this bird is one of those from the well-known nest site on the Newton Building – it’s good to see the Peregrines are still around the city.
Thanks to Keith for the photo. More of his work can be seen on his flickr site, which is well worth checking out.
It’s not uncommon to find butterflies in the house at this time of year, like this slightly bedraggled Peacock (Aglais io)……
The Peacock is one of a few British butterflies that will overwinter as a dormant adult, often choosing sheds or outbuildings to shelter until the warmer weather comes. They may find their way into houses in autumn, where they will be shaken out of dormancy when the heating is turned on – this is what has happened to this individual. Unfortunately, this ‘false spring’ will exhaust the butterfly, and it is likely to die once awakened, with no nectar to sustain it and freezing temperatures outside.
The best thing to do with such a butterfly is to put it in a cool, safe place where it can sit out the winter. We put this peacock in a container in the fridge to allow it to quickly re-enter dormancy; after a while cooling down next to the margarine, it was dormant and ready to be carefully placed in a garden shed. With luck, this one will survive the winter and be ready to emerge in the warmth of the spring. Continue reading