Nest building

Spring is a busy time for birds with those having made it through the harsh winter now turning their attention to finding mates, building a nest and raising the next generation. Living on the edge of the tidal mudflat provides a great opportunity to watch all kinds of birds gather nesting materials from the flotsam deposited on the tide line each day.

The different species all seem to have their own preference. The House Sparrows had chosen this large washed up branch as their favourite resource, pulling off thin strands of bark with their stout beaks.



As well as the strands of bark, the house sparrows can also be seen picking up small downy feathers from the ground.

This male inspected this large white swan feather with some enthusiasm before deciding this was far too large for him to carry off, and opted for a much smaller feather instead.


The Herring Gulls are much less choosy, simply scraping up large mounds of twigs, seaweed and grass from the shore.


This female was very ambitious in collecting an enormous plant stem along with several thick branches.

So heavy and unbalancing was it’s load that the gull tried and failed to take off several times before giving up and discarding most of the haul.



As well as natural resources, any birds like the Jackdaws are also opportunistic and happy to make use of almost anything, natural or man made to both create and line their nests.

A quick scour along the roadside and this individual had gathered what appeared to be some sort of white fabric or paper along with the odd strand of grass and feathers.



It’s not just that harbour that provides, all over birds will utilise whatever they can for their nest construction and insulation. Over in the castle grounds the smaller birds were also busying themselves with their own housekeeping.

I watched this robin collect dry and wilted leaves in it’s beak before flying off to it’s nest concealed in the undergrowth nearby.


A Dunnock searched carefully in a patch of bare soil for tiny strands of fur and delicate white downy feathers, shed by other birds, the perfect soft cushioning for her own young.



Here’s hoping for some baby bird sightings in the coming months!

All photographs copyright of Claire Stott/Grey Feather Photography 2018 ©

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