The set-up.......

Oddbox1

This nest box is made by Gardenature and its shape means you get an interesting diagonal view of the nest box. This year, I lined mine with bark to try to create natural feel as if inside a tree cavity. A pair of great tits took up residence.

This nest box is set up on an fir tree about half way up my garden, opposite my greenhouse. Last year, I also had a pair of great tits nest here. I had problems with this camera early on and I think the IR remains on during daylight sometimes, giving the image a strange hue. As I had great tits showing interest in another nest box, I did not documnet all the nest building stages of this pair. I joined them again later, when the cam image improved slightly and it was clear they had laid four eggs.

The story so far.......

4th April

The great tit started to show an interest in the nest box.

6th May

21st April

I spy three or four eggs....

The female incubates for just over 2 weeks and the first chicks hatch on 6th May

21stApril 182
6thMay 273
7thMay 285

7th May

I get the first views of what look like four chicks....

8th May

8thMay 292

The parents are busy feeding four chicks.....

9thMay 303

9th May

Lots of St Mark's flies and caterpillars are brought into the four hungry chicks.

10thMay 310

10th May

Less activity today, but it has been raining all day. At one point the female returned to the nest and spent a little while just sitting.... I wonder how long before we see our first egg?

12thMay 349 - Copy
12thMay 348 - Copy

12th May

These chicks are growing fast!

12thMay 368
Screen shot 2012-05-12 at 15.40.42

14th May

14thMay

The chicks' eyes open....

15thMay 433 - Copy
15thMay 430

15th May

The chicks' eyes open....

16thMay 469
15thMay 430

16th May

The feathers are clearly visible and beginning to appear on the wings.

17thMay 498

17th May

There are still four chicks, but they are so well fed, that they do not all beg every time for food. The adults ar bringing in loads of caterpillars and the chicks look really healthy.

18th May

18thMay 507
18thMay 506

When the chicks reach up for food, you can clearly see the colouration appearing on their chest and the black line. They are really noisy and you can hear them clearly from outside.

19thMay 569
19thMay 573

19th May

The chicks literally 'explode' into action as soon as they hear the parents... the neat nest cup is becoming more battered by the constant movements in and out of the nest box.

20thMay 593

20th May

21stMay 621

21st May

22ndMay 645
22ndMay 640

22nd May

This chick ventured up to the edge of the box, before successfully fledged.

23rdMay 700

23rd May

Late on the 23rd, one of these two chicks fledged, but the last chick showed no signs of going. As it became darker, it became clear he was going to spend the night in there. I presumed he would fledge the next morning. I was, therefore, sad to see that the chick had died overnight in the nest box.

The weather had been very warm and I think these chicks were dehydrated. The adults had been feeding them lots of St Mark's flies... rather than caterpillars and these would have little moisture.

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