Now you see them, now you don’t

One day they are there, constantly tweeting and clamouring for food while the parents zoom in and out relentlessly, the next everything is quiet.  Two nestfuls of house martins in Turville have fledged, almost simultaneously.

I am recording nests for the British Trust for Ornithology house martin survey, having done it last year (see here).  I am watching two nests on Old School House.


Old School House: the nests are in the two upper oblong windows

Last year I watched the nest on the left-hand side of the left-hand window; this year it was still in pretty good condition in May when I began watching.  I also kept an eye on a new nest on the right-hand side of the right-hand window.  This was just a fragment on 12 May when I began.

RH nest being built

Right-hand nest being built, 12 May

It soon caught up with the left-hand nest and two weeks later I could see a bird peeping out, probably sitting on eggs.

RH nest baby

Right-hand nest with bird, 26 May

I watched the nests regularly, for about five minutes a time, and the activities around each were similar.  On 16 June both had birds in the vicinity, and on 22 and 30 June both had birds feeding young.  The babies were hanging out, eager to be fed.

LH nest feeding

Feeding on left-hand nest

And then on 2 July they were gone.  Last year I noted that the left-hand nest was empty by 30 June.

But I can hope for second broods: last year they were back again in July.  So I’ll keep watching.  And meanwhile, there’s a swallow nesting in the porch in the house to the right (behind the black car in the picture showing the cottages).

Update: this evening (3 July) the young were back in the nest being fed by the parents, and this is common as I learn from the RSPB website.


About campaignerkate

I am the general secretary of the Open Spaces Society and I campaign for public access, paths and open spaces in town and country.
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