The Garden Diary 2014

June (part 1) 

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25 June - It's a bright, sunny day outside and I've a bit of catching up to do!

A few days ago we returned from our usual hide-away in Cornwall where we spent a glorious three weeks of almost continuous dry, sunny weather, the first fortnight spent in the company of our grandson and his dad. The theory was that the final week would be a chance to recover, although I think that plan didn't quite work, especially as I had the kayak with me....

If I get time I will come back to the holiday in another entry, but I must return to reality and say something about the Swifts. All my plans to monitor the nests while in Cornwall came to a sudden end just a few days into the holiday when the webcam image 'froze'.  On our return home it didn't take long to establish that the computer running the webcam software had crashed. Fortunately the two hard drive recorders continued to behave, recording the source images used by the webcam for four and a half hours each morning and evening.

Those recordings have helped me to patch together a somewhat confused story of activity in the three monitored Swift boxes -

Box SW(le) -  This has been the most straightforward of the three boxes in that incubation progressed without any known incidents. The first two chicks hatched on 11 June, followed by the third on the 13/ early on the 14th. Some uncertainty here as the recorded segments nearly all showed an adult sitting. Consequently, the chicks have progressed well.

Box SW(up) - As reported in the May diary, the pair in this box had rejected both of their eggs by the 27th, both eggs being removed from the box over the following two days. The pair continued to spend a great deal of time in the box, but it wasn't until 7th June that the female laid a 'replacement' egg. She then produced a second egg on 10 June and up to now the pair shows no sign of rejecting this second clutch.

Box SW(ri) - Incubation of the three eggs seemed to be problem free until 5 June when one egg was rejected and dumped next to the low step near the entrance (where it has remained ever since). Then, on 11 June the remaining two eggs were also rejected. One of these could be seen at the back of the box but the other had vanished, presumably ejected from the box. As was the case in SW(up), the pair continued to spend a great deal of time in the box and on 22 June I saw them mating in the box. Subsequently an egg was laid on 23 June. As of today the pair have yet to get back into a full-time incubation routine so I'm wondering if a second egg may be laid in the next day or so.




26 June - A brief follow-up to that previous entry -


As I suspected, a second egg was laid in SW(ri) today (lower image: top-left shows SW(le) and top-right shows SW(up)).

I would be surprised to see any more laid now, but we will need to see how complete the switch to incubation mode is over the next couple of days.






The bright, sunny spell that blessed our holiday and much of this week has come to an end. Today became gradually cooler and there was rain for a while this evening.


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