Neil Fletcher takes a regular look at the everyday wildlife at Woods Mill, headquarters of the Sussex Wildlife Trust, and at his home in nearby Henfield.
It all started back in January. On sunny days the blue tits would keep popping in and out of the bird box, just to have a look. It’s their favourite box, inspite of the small dimensions of the rooms, but it’s in the perfect location, and the new legislation means it gets a very high score for energy efficiency with great insulation.
They’d get more and more excited as the weeks went by, constantly nipping by to have a look, until finally they had an exchange date. Then comes the tricky part of moving in. It’s a first home, and they had no idea where to put things. Bits of moss would be brought in, and then taken out. Little arguments, it’s a stressful time. At one point they had something actually beginning to look like a nest, and the whole lot was taken out again and chucked. But eventually they got settled in.
Then the pitter-patter of tiny eggs started to arrive. She’d cover them up every time she left the box so it was hard to tell how many there were, and then suddenly there were five! Then seven! Then eight!
Now she’s bedded down and brooding, shuffling her belly to get the eggs next to her skin, getting up every now and then to turn the eggs and shuffle them around a bit, even in the middle of the night.
It’s been like that for quite a few days now – they should hatch soon. How many will hatch? How many will survive the first week? How many will actually get to fledge and leave the nest?