Friday, 4 May 2012

A foray of feathered activity around Tweed Valley

heron chicks
Our developing heron chicks at the nest

The heron chicks at Kailzie are really big now and they are becoming adventurous. The nest is a midden of rotting food at the bottom and white splashes of heron droppings all around the edges. This is such a contrast to the tidy and clean nesting ospreys.

The precocious chicks are beginning to wander through the branches of their nest tree to explore their world and possibly to escape the stinky reaches of their home.

While the chicks had gone walkabout we think a chick from one of the other nearby nests in the colony wandered on in to have a nose about and see if there was any free food scraps to be had.

This bird seemed much further advanced in feathering, with the pin feathers broken all along the shafts to reveal almost full primary and secondary feathers.

After a good rummage about in the bottom of the nest, the chick then stalked off to continue wandering though the branches.

The two heron chicks return to the nest when they are hungry and mum is due back to feed them.

When their mum returns to the nest with a full crop of fishy food, both chicks violently descend on her and begin tapping at her beak to regurgitate the food. It is like a wrestling match with both chicks competing to win the prize! Most often it is the largest heron chick that wins and gets a satisfied full stomach and the smaller skinnier chick has to take any scraps dropped into the bottom of the nest. We are hoping that this smaller chick will get enough to survive.

The blue tits have now completed their clutch of eggs and it looks like there are 10 eggs in the nest. The female carefully covers the eggs when she leaves the nest but she has now begun incubating and turning them regularly. When she stands up briefly we get a glimpse of the eggs.

The feeder cameras at Glentress are bustling with hungry forest birds such as flocks of siskins tucking in to the peanut feeders. The camera is set to capture, in superb detail, these little finches teasing the food from between the mesh of the feeders.

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