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Tuesday, 20 June 2017

A Dunnock - Hedge Sparrow Nest in the Garden.

I’m sure I don’t need to tell anyone that is was very hot yesterday in the UK. (19th June 2017) My wife and I sat in the garden looking at the wonderful array of wild cornflowers and the various other flora we have. We have put out various bird boxes and many feeding tables to attract small birds. They are now visiting in abundance. Every day a pair of Pied Wagtails like to make a show of themselves. They seem to run across the lawn in short burst. I think they catch tiny ticks or flies coming up from the soil.

There is also a pair of Robins that flit about the garden too. They seem to enjoy the bedding areas where the worms are. We dug it up the other day and put down new shrubs, horse manure and high-grade multi-purpose compost. As a result, everything is in wonderful bloom. As one type of plant flowers and goes for the year, another plant seems to re-emerge from last year.

I was enjoying the birds and talking with Carol about the little visitors we are having in abundance. Obviously, the bird tables are mainly frequented by the more common Blackbirds and House Sparrows. However, the Robins are plentiful as are Goldfinches, Greenfinches and Blue Tits etc. I spoke of one type of bird that looked like a sparrow, but it was lighter in colour – almost sandy with a light belly that had little black dotted broken lines along it. Carole, who is more knowledgeable than me on birds, said it might be a Dunnock or Hedge Sparrow.

As we spoke one came in and landed by the rabbit hutch. We watched it hop about and gradually it went inside the duck coop. I explained that the other day I saw it on the fence by the duck coop and it had a feather in its beak. It jumped down behind the Ceonosis Bush. Carole replied that it probably had a nest in the big bush by the fence. I asked why none used the bird houses we have put up. Carole said that they might get used in about another couple of years. One here or there and that once the array of clinging plants surrounded the hutches it would make them more secluded and inviting to the smaller birds.

As we watched the Dunnock hop about the coop it gradually went towards the very Ceonosis Bush I had been speaking of. Then it stealthy entered from below at ground level. Carole said that it would try and use various ways to enter its nesting area because of predators.

We had been watching a BBC programme called Springwatch in which, Jays (Carrion Bird) attacked a nest and killed all the fledgelings of a Wagtail. Also, in our very garden, a few weeks earlier, we had witnessed the Goldfinch nest attacked by House Sparrows. Of the five fledgelings, only three were saved by our intervention. Two died in the attack but the other three, who jumped from the nest to land upon our lawn, were saved because we called an independent rescue centre who came and reared them. The Goldfinch parents have not been back since. They do not know that three of their chicks survived the attack.



A little while later when collecting the duck eggs, we saw the little Dunnock leave the Ceonosis Bush and we were standing very close to it. As we looked inside, we saw the nest. The inside was lined with white feathers like the one I had seen the bird carrying a few days earlier. There were also some tiny little turquoise blue eggs. I did not count them all because I could only see a section from outside the bush. I had been photographing our flower array and had the camera with me. I could not resist photographing the Dunnock nest.

Afterwards, I sat outside waiting for the little Dunnocks to reappear. They did and I managed to get a couple of shots on the Camera to add. 



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