Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Needle in a Haystack !!!

After a favourable weather report, I decided on a short trip to Rainham RSPB, to walk the trail in some spring sunshine, and try my luck with another photographic session at the woodland feeding station.

A quick look at the Rainham RSPB website  revealed a report of a Long Tailed Tit nest under construction, which I thought would be nice to see,  but, a very small bird , on a very large reserve,
 pretty unlikely.

A very pleasant walk around the reserve revealed some good views of a SparrowHawk hunting over the pools, a Marsh Harrier being harassed by some crows at the back of Aveley marshes, and this Peregrine high up on a pylon near the Ken Barrett hide.

The woodland feeding station was strangely quiet, not a single bird to be seen today.

I moved on around the trail, three Long tailed tits were seen moving through the trees but away from me.

As I moved on, another Long tailed Tit caught my eye, and on closer inspection had some nesting material in its beak. It flew down to a Hawthorn bush quite close to me, I followed its progress through the bush, and their it was, 

It seemed completely unconcerned by my presence and totally engrossed in its task of nest building, as you can see the nest appears only half constructed at this stage, which can take up to three weeks to construct.

It has been said that this may be one of Britains most intricate and labour intensive nest.

The nest when completed is like a soft dome, constructed from thousands of pieces of moss stuck together by strands of cobweb.
It is then camouflaged with lichen fragments and lined with hundreds of feathers.

The nest when complete, can take on an elastic property, which when you consider that the Long Tailed Tit can have a brood of up to nine, the nest really needs to expand to accommodate them all.

While I was watching, there were two birds involved in the construction, occasionally one of the birds entered the nest and would spin around as if to mould the shape of the interior.

"Needle in a haystack"

Hopefully I will get an image of the completed nest at a later stage.

UPDATE  12th March 2014

The nest complete with domed top has now been finished.

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