Can you beat a blue tit bul­let hole nest?

Macclesfield Express - - THE LAUGHING BADGER - SEAN WOOD

WHEN the RSPB sent me a press re­lease about un­usual nest sites, in­clud­ing that of the robin rear­ing young un­der the bon­net of a car, and the firecrest in the Eif­fel Tower, which had been us­ing the hair from the wax model of the con­struc­tion en­gi­neer who built the tower as nest­ing ma­te­rial, I thought to my­self, ‘pretty good’, but I bet some of my read­ers can beat those, and they did.

So here’s your chance to im­press, can you beat any of the fol­low­ing?

Take this from a regular reader, Pam: “I thought you’d like th­ese pic­tures of moorhen nest­ing in a wheel­bar­row near the cen­tre of Glossop, and a robin nest­ing un­der the plan­ing ma­chine of my hus­band’s work­shop.”

I did in­deed, and if ever there was a good ex­cuse to leave off the DIY, that must be it.

Like­wise for Bill Tiny, who for­warded a pic­ture of a robin’s nest in his gar­den­ing jacket pocket.

At the time, I ad­vised Bill to leave the lawn to grow and put his feet up for a few weeks while the young­sters hatched and fledged.

Two other favourites, were the images of a beau­ti­ful golden-eye duck, sit­ting by the side of the Manch­ester Ship Canal.

This small duck should have been north of the bor­der, nest­ing in holes in trees.

And se­condly, per­haps the ul­ti­mate in rare nest sites, which should per­haps be ti­tled, Make Love, Not War.

“Blue tit nests in hole in wall – noth­ing un­usual about that you might say,” said a Manch­ester reader, “Un­til that is, I tell you that the hole was cre­ated by a bul­let from a Kalash­nikov AK47 as­sault ri­fle. A few years ago some­one sprayed the front of an old derelict build­ing at El­ton Reser­voir with gun shot, leav­ing sev­eral holes, po­lice hav­ing found spent shells which iden­ti­fied the ri­fle.

“My wife and I were pass­ing one Fri­day night, and we watched as a pair of blue tits flew in and out of a bul­let hole, car­ry­ing food for young.

“The bul­let must have cre­ated some sort of cav­ity in­side the wall – per­fect for a nest. Been past this week­end and blue tits have oc­cu­pied the bul­let hole once again.”

I thought that was a pretty good sight­ing, but then he fol­lowed it up a week later, with a sight­ing of a mal­lard 10ft up a tree, on her nest, in a hole.

Iron­i­cally, that is what the afore­men­tioned golden-eye should have been do­ing.

The ball is in your court now, or should I say, it is your turn to feather your own nest with a se­lec­tion of un­usual nest site re­ports.

In the mean­time, this year’s best yet, was the re­port of a ground-nest­ing tawny owl in Der­byshire.

Lo­cal birder Mike Price, of Had­field, told me that he had a seen a tawny fly up from the ground while out record­ing – Mike that is, not the owl.

He thought per­haps the bird was on a kill, or at­tempt­ing a kill, and did not in­ves­ti­gate fur­ther.

How­ever, when pass­ing the same place a cou­ple of days later, he luck­ily checked it out and dis­cov­ered three tawny owl eggs.

While not a fa­mous first, it doesn’t hap­pen very of­ten, and is most likely linked to lack of suit­able nest­ing holes in trees within the owl’s ter­ri­tory.

As for my own most un­usual nest site, it in­volved a pair of en­ter­pris­ing blue tits in a farm build­ing at Wood­head, some 30 years ago, un­for­tu­nately I can­not ex­plain where they chose in a fam­ily news­pa­per.

You’ll need to visit www.laugh­ing­bad­ger to find out.

Mike Price

●● Ground nest­ing tawny owl site

The Laugh­ing Bad­ger Gallery, 99 Platt Street, Pad­field, Glossop

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