Spectacular dawn choruses announce that the nesting season is well underway at Redwood Valley. Britain’s two smallest birds have taken up residence in one of Britain’s largest trees – our glorious giant redwood. As we write, a wren is incubating her clutch of eggs in a cosy nest tucked away in the tree’s forgiving bark, whilst high in the branches above goldcrests are weaving their tiny basket nests of moss, hair and feathers into the soft branches.
A few yards from Eilian yurt blackcaps are busy feeding their family of young in a delicate grass nest deep in the brambles, and along the banks of the stream a family of nuthatches is preparing to fledge. You can see how the nest hole has been built up with mud, now baked hard in the sun, to create a snug, safe entrance.
Along the stream we observe grey wagtails courtship feeding and marsh tits collecting food for their young, though they have ignored our nest boxes. We are hoping that the late-arriving pied flycatchers will use the boxes instead, as they did last year.
Other notable sightings today include a spectacular male redstart – another late-breeding species – and a tawny owl clutching a freshly killed male blackbird in broad daylight. The owl chicks have left their nest hole and can be heard at dusk calling high in the mighty oaks. No doubt, with so many mouths to feed, the parents have extended their hunting into daylight hours.
And finally, on the subjects of blackbirds, in spite of all the dense, lush vegetation, a pair has decided to build their nest in the gutter of our treetop cabin. The nest is understandably rather soggy, after recent rains, but the dried mud fabric of the nest seems to be holding up, and we have high hopes for a successful brood.
These are just a few examples of the myriad species nesting in Redwood Valley. Have we created a special haven here? Well the birds seem to think so.
> COME AND SEE FOR YOURSELF