Portugal Wildlife

Nesting 2015:

Breeding Bird Activity Smmary:

At the latest count, we have the following nesting activity:

1. Barn Swallow on top of Bat Box
2. From 1 to 3+ pairs of Blue Tits in Bat Boxes
3. House Sparrows in Barn Owl Box
4. Great Tit in Treecreeper Box. Now used by House Sparrows.
5. House Sparrows nesting in at least 1 of the 6 Sparrow Colony Boxes.
6. Spotless Starlings 3 or more pairs in Swift Boxes. Feeding young and also egglaying.
7. Blue Tit feeding young in Blue Tit Box.
8. Barn Swallow nesting in Artificial Swallow Nest Cup - but after adding some extra mud.
9. Barn Swallow building nest in eaves of front door porch.
10. House Sparrow now nesting in Treecreeper box. Feeding young.
11. Little Owls nesting, with fledglings, in man-made rock pile.

Summary: Five different bird species; Perhaps 14 or more pairs nesting. A very successful first year indeed.

I have put a number of nest boxes to encourage wildlife to take up residence on and around my house. Target species include: Common swift, common kestrel, blue tit/great tit/Eurasian nuthatch, spotted flycatcher, house sparrow, short-toed treecreeper and bats. The nest boxes are all im place now so I am now waiting to see what happens.

Nesting Activities: Early signs of nesting: A Blue Tit is putting nesting material in several of the bat boxes -gaining access through the slit in the floor ! A blue tit has also been seen picking up beakfuls of cat fur from our terrace. A Great Tit inspected the inside of the 'treecreeper' nest box. Spotless starlings have been carrying nesting material near my office building but no nest site yet identified. More spotless starlings have been investigating a natural hole in a holm oak tree.

Bees try to nest in Barn Owl Box (photos below). Blue Tits nesting in bat boxes have lost several eggs that fell out the hole in the bottom of the box. Barn Swallow seen flying out from Swallow Nest Box ! House Sparrows seem to be investigating nesting potential in one of the Barn Owl boxes. Barn Swallow nesting on top of Bat Box. Great Tits now feeding young in Treecreeper Box. Male House Sparrow displaying to females on top of the six Sparrow Colony Boxes. At least two pairs of Spotless starlings are nesting in two of the 'swift' boxes. Blue Tits feeding young in Blue Tit Box - at least one species has found the correct nest box ! Barn Swallows also nesting in the artificial swallow nest cup. But they have added some extra mud to it. House Sparrows now seem to have taken over the treecreeper box that a pair of Great Tits were using. Fledgling Blackbirds have been seen on the reserve - nest site unknown.

Little Owl perched on man-made rock pile which is being used as a nesting site; Family of Little Owls on man-made rockpile nesting site; Photographing Little Owls at nest site;

Female House Sparrow bringing food to nestlings in treecreeper box; Spotless Starling egg that fell out of nestbox;

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Spotless Starling Nestlings impatient to be fed; Spotless Starling Nestlings being fed by Parent Bird; Second Nestling gets Fed;

Iberian Azurewinged Magpie Fledgling that had fallen to the ground. It was picked up and then placed back in a tree; Young Blackbird brought home by cat. Fed for a week and then released in suitable tree; Barn Swallow nest being built in eaves of Front Door Porch;

 

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Third pair of Spotless Starlings nesting in swift boxes. Feeding young.

A second swarm of honey bees moved in to one of the barn owl boxes. Our local bee-keeper again came to collect the swarm in a box and take back to his hives.

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Barn Swallow on nest in artificial swallow cup; Pair of Barn Swallows nest-building - bringing beakfulls of fresh mud to add to next cup;

Barn Swallow Cup Nest - Swallows have added mud balls to the artificial cup nest; Barn Swallow mud nest on top of Bat Box;

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Female House Sparrow arriving at Nest in House Sparrow Colony nest box with Nesting Material; Male and Female House Sparrows at nest;

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Blue Tit bringing food to Nestlings in Blue Tit Box and then leaving the nest to hunt for more food; Blue Tit arriving at Nest with Food in Bill; Blue Tit at Nest Box Entrance - then flies away and its Mate exits from Nest Box;

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Video Showing Spotless Starling Entering swift nest box - close up; Video Showing Spotless Starling Leaving nest - close up; Spotless Starling Bringing Nesting Material to its nest box;

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Female House Sparrow entering Spotless Starling's Nest in swift box - An Interloper; Male and then Female House Sparrows at Spotless Starling's nest hole; Spotless Starling returning to nest and chasing out House Sparrows;

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Short Videos of Spotless Starlings Nesting in Swift boxes

Spotless Starling Nest Hole in Holm Oak; Holm Oak with natural nest site being used by Spotless Starlings;

Spotless Starling leaving its nesting site in a Swift Nest Box (Low res Screen grab from video)

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Video of Male House Sparrow Displaying to attract a mate to nest in one of the House Sparrow Colont Nest Boxes

Rear view of Barn with Blue Tit, 6x Swift, 6x House Sparrow and Kestrel Nest Boxes; Video-Monitoring of Nesting Activity;

Great Tit with Food (caterpillar) waiting to visit its nest; Great Tit entering Treecreeper Box; Male House Sparrow sitting on top of Treecreeper Box in which Great Tit has a nest (making Great Tit 'wait' to enter nest box); Great Tit leaving its nest;

Barn Swallow collecting Mud and Nesting Material for nest building; Barn Swallow with beakful of Mud and Stick; Barn Swallow on partly-built nest on top of Bat Box (Screen grab from video); Barn Swallow with Nest-building material in beak (Screen grab from video);

Blue Tit about to enter its Bat Box nest (Screen grab from video);

Blue Tit nesting in bottom of Bat Box and Barn Swallow nesting on top of Bat Box (Screen grab from video); House Sparrow investigating Barn Owl Box for nest site (Screen grab from video);

Batty Blue Tit: Video Clip of Blue Tit taking nesting material into Bat Box:

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Click on the Thumbnails below to see a larger photograph

Swarm of Honey Bees starting to nest in Barn Owl Box; Honey Bees moving to 'Bee Box' brought by local beekeper en route to a new hive;

Swift Nest Box being made by Alan our local blacksmith-cum-carpenter ; Swift Box Production line; Sparrow colony nestbox with three separate compartments ; Finished Sparrow colony nest box; All these photographs taken by Alan

Nest boxes so far erected are:

Treecreeper Nest Box ; Treecreeper box sited in Holm Oak; Kestrel Nesting Box; Blue Tit Box; Flycatcher or Wagtail Nest Box;

Six Bat Roosting or Colony Boxes in Garage Eaves; Two House Sparrow Colony Nestboxes; SIx Swift Nestboxes; Close up of Swift Box;

Two Barn Owl (Tyto alba) (Coruja-das-torres) nest boxes at either end of the Barn

White stork (Ciconia ciconia) (Cegonha-branca) nesting platform on top of Barn - before and after some sticks from an old white stork nest that had fallen to the ground were added

Barn swallow (Hirundo rustica) (Andorinha-das-chaminés) nest cup in eaves of Barn

Three house martin (Delichon urbicum) (Andorinha-dos-beirais) nest boxes, hoping to attract a colony of house martins

Swift Nestbox being installed

Short-toed Treecreeper Nestbox

Flycatcher or Wagtail Nesbox and Blue Tit Nestbox

Bat Boxes being installed

Early Migrants: Saw a house martin on 28th January. Chiffchaffs singing on 1st March. First Barn Swallows arrived on 5th March. Eurasian Cuckoo singing 10th March. 29th March: Two Eurasian Cuckoos in aerial chase while calling. Eurasian Hoopoes back on 6th April.

 

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