Thursday, April 26, 2012

Mute Swan update

'A day or two before any house-martins had been observed, Thomas Hoar distinctly heard pretty late one evening the twittering notes of those birds from under the eaves of my brewhouse, between the ceiling and the thatch. Now the quere is, whether those birds had harboured there the winter thro', and were just awakening from their slumbers, or whether they had only just taken possession of that place unnoticed, & were lately arrived from some distant district. If the former was the case, they went not far to seek for an Hybernaculum, since they nestle every year along the eaves of that building. Mr Derham wrote word to the R. Society "that some time before any Swifts had been seen, (I think before the month of March was out), he heard them squeaking behind the weather-tiles on the front of his parsonage-house." It is a pity that so curious a Naturalist did not proceed to the taking-down some of the tiles, that he might have satisfied his eyes as well as his hearing. As a notion had prevailed that Hirundines at first coming were lean & emaciated, I procured an H. martin to be shot as soon as it appeared: but the bird, when it come to be opened, was fat & fleshy. Its stomach was full of the legs & wings of small coleoptera...'
                                                                                   [Gilbert White's Diaries, April 26th 1778]

I love that account from Gilbert White, this day 234 years ago...and I'm eagerly awaiting my first House Martin of the year!

Good news from The Causeway where I arrived this morning to find the Swans busily engaged in constructing a new nest! 10 out of 10 for determination! The video begins with the remnants of the old swamped nest and pans left for several metres until the pair can be seen, deeper into the reeds, hard at work gathering reed stems.

And, a short while later, while the birds were off the nest, I went to have a look and found this!! Bingo!!
This is egg number 2, and there may be another 4 or 5 yet to arrive! Following these Swans is becoming a real epic!

The remains of this Mallard egg were close-by, too.

And here's one for the moth boys 'n girls. This micro-moth landed on me. I'm off out to a meeting soon so I haven't got time to i.d. it. Any help gratefully appreciated (and with the caterpillars from a few days ago! :-) ).

Thanks to Dean for his help. This is Incurvaria masculella. It's a common moth, the male being unusual with its comb-like, pectinate antennae which you can see here.


  1. Steve, the micro moth is Incurvaria masculella. As for your caterpillars from a few days ago, i`m not sure about the first one, but the second ones amongst the silken tent/web are Brown Tails.

  2. Great news about the swans steve, they are really determined! The new site looks a bit safer. Will keep visiting for news, excellent blogging mate!

  3. Thanks so much, Dean...and thanks for the encouragement, Dave - really appreciated!