It has been the most glorious day today! A slow start with low-lying mist, but a hint in the air that spring sunshine was only hours away. By eleven o’clock, the sun began to burn through and before long, the temperatures began to rise and the birds responded with a chorus of song. Most notable was the chiffchaff! My first sighting and record of it this year. Just one individual as far as I could tell, but lovely to have them back in my patch again. A single brimstone was joined by a peacock butterfly and the bumble bees were out, taking advantage of my hellebores that look beautiful and are one of the earliest sources of nectar in my garden.
I started the day in the greenhouse, whilst the weather was grey and damp and began to plant up the first of the plants for Gardner’s World Live. I have chosen some single dahlias for pots as they are excellent nectar sources and create a showy display.
and some seeds…
I have also planted up two species of echinacea… cone flowers…. another popular species with bees.
As I was in the green house, I noticed a female blackbird coming to an old hanging basket and pulling of the strands from the liner. With a beak full, she kept disappearing over the other side of the lane. I kept watching her and then went and sat up on the bank to see if I could see where she was going. Just as I hoped she would, she flew straight across toward me and then perched just above my garage. Checking all was clear, she then flew down to the side of the garage, where she had built her nest in the ivy, overhanging from the roof. I kept still until she left and nipped down to investigate. Straight away, I could see the site had camera potential. Slung expertly within the stands of ivy and up against the wall, the site was open on one side and I knew I would be able to mount a camera there.
I took a long branch and rested it so one end was on the ground and the other was leaning on the wall, above the nest. I marked where the camera would need to be and estimated the distance from cam to nest.
It is essential that there is no disturbance so the key is in the preparation! I went back into the garden and took one of my cams upstairs, plugged it into my little TV and set the focal distance. I then screwed the cam onto the post at the desired height.
I have another nest box a few metres from this blackbird nest so I decided to use the cable from that as I had used a longer one than I needed. It just reached. I can always plug the other nest box in again when something starts nesting in in. Checking the female was not at the nest, I leant the pole and cam against the garage a little way away from the nest. Within a few minutes, she was back and did not seem worried by the new post. I waited until she went again and moved the post a bit closer. I repeated this a couple of times, each time waiting until she came back to ensure she had not noticed. Finally, I moved the pole and camera into the position I had wanted.
I rushed indoor and up to the PC. Checking the screen, I could see that my cam was just right. The only thing is that, because it is quite dark under there, the IR is starting to kick in, so the image is not showing as much colour as I would like, but never mind. She looks like she has almost finished the nest…. so we will be able to watch these final stages and hopefully see her raise her family!
Watch out for the camera on my live stream.