Friday, 15 June 2012

First flight

I received a nice mail and some great pix from my colleague Coilín Mac Lochlainn, describing  an event that is taking place all over the country about now, but nonetheless is still really special to witness:

"A clutch of Blue Tits in one of my nestboxes flew this morning at 8am; I was lucky enough to see them all take their first flight, five in all. The whole thing took about 10 minutes, certainly no more than 15.

The first one took a good look around, looking left and right as well as forward. It took it about 2 or 3 minutes to decide to go, enough time for me to get my camera. When a parent returned with food, it was
momentarily puzzled to find that the first one was calling from the bushes, but it took the food inside the box anyway.

Chicks 2, 3 and 4 left in quick succession, one after the other, no pushing or shoving, and not looking around as much. It seemed as though the ones inside were giving the one perched at the entrance plenty of
time to make up its mind to fly.

Finally, chick 5 appeared and it was clear that this one was much weaker than the others (see pic above). It was also slower to take off; it finally did, but instead of a bold flight it sailed down to the ground and
hopped into a bush. Luckily a parent was on the spot within minutes and somehow got it away out of danger. I had chased a feral cat out of the garden during all this, in case it tried to catch any of them. I managed
to photograph all five of the birds. The box is empty and silent now and all the activity has moved away."

I was happy to observe a couple of young Blue Tits in my own garden, visiting the peanut feeder with a parent: although there is lots of food options at this time, peanuts are obviously very welcome when foraging becomes very difficult with the disasterous wet weather we have experienced lately.

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