Today we did the annual round of the nest boxes, clearing out the old nests and giving the boxes a vigorous brushing out. This minimises the parasite load in the boxes for next year’s nests.
One of the defining characteristics of our dog is her obsession with balls. In particular, the football-sized tennis balls that are available in either bright yellow or luminous pink. She has many of these balls on the go at any one time and they shed fluff as they are kicked around.
Several of the nests had fluff from these balls woven into them. How lovely.
Some of the boxes we were expecting to find old nests in because we had spotted the boxes being used back in the Spring by Great Tits and Blue Tits. However, there were a couple of surprises. A Wren had used one of the Wren boxes hung deep inside a hedgerow:
No signs of use in either of the Kestrel boxes:
However, when we opened the Little Owl box, it was unexpectedly filled with leaves:
To solve the mystery of what this might be, a Grey Squirrel very helpfully exited the box at high speed. In three years, this was the first Squirrel that we had seen here (although one had been spotted down by the pond by a visitor a couple of years ago) and so this was actually quite remarkable for that.
As we went round checking the boxes, we noted many potential sites for additional boxes and so we will be ordering some more in ready for the next breeding season in the Spring.