03 June 2010

Tits on my Terrace


A couple of years ago a friend gave me this nesting box which I fixed under a corner of the terrace roof. I didn't think it was a 'real' nesting box, but probably 'garden decor' so it was a surprise when a month or so ago a couple of coal tits started checking it out - flew in, flew out again. Perhaps they thought the rent might be too high. Or perhaps it was simply unsuitable - too near humans (I eat at the terrace table) and of course, far too much noise from the dogs. But then they were back, checking it out again - it seemed the accommodation might do. Time passed and I thought they'd changed their minds, until a couple of weeks ago when things got busy. Suddenly Ma and Pa Coal Tit started flying in and out all day long, endlessly feeding their obviously now hatched brood. In their beaks: spiders, grasshoppers and little bits of the fatty balls I hang out for all the birds. And each day the chicks' cries got louder and more demanding.

Yesterday, over breakfast, for the first time, the chicks fluttered up to the tiny entrance and then dropped down again. It seemed it might soon be time for them to fly away.

And so yesterday morning I took my camera out just in case, but the light was too bright on the box, the sun too strong. The camera went back into the house. Over breakfast and deep in conversation with friends who are staying, suddenly, one fledgling appeared, looked around, leaned forward and then launched itself into a new life. Its first flight. As I said, the camera was inside the house... grrrrrrrrrrrrr!

So, from that moment on I waited with the camera - didn't move - and then about an hour later, chick number two appeared - as you see in the photo. It looked around, went back in, looked around again, noticed the sea and the sunshine and then - whoosh - it was off too. Maybe there was a third but I don't think so. Anyway, now the box is empty.

I can't begin to tell you the feeling of privilege one has when birds nest on your terrace. Hope they come back next year. And yes, I'm no bird photographer but at least you see the chick in the first two shots a mere second before it flew for the first time in its life - and Mama Coal Tit in the last one (taken the day before).

For great bird photography, you need to visit Abe Lincoln's brilliant My Birds Blog. Yes, that Abe Lincoln - he's a descendant of the great man and lives in Ohio but hasn't been too well lately. This post is for you, dear Abe. Get well soon.

14 comments:

  1. Oh Jilly, what a privilege! These photos are wonderful. Thanks so much for your patience.

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  2. What a wonderful moment to witness! You have nothing to apologize for with the photos. Abe will approve -:)))

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  3. You've started the day with a deep smile, Jilly. Everything about this post inspires fellowship, hope, and compassion. Wishing those fledglings a wonderful bird life. Hope a new family returns next spring.

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  4. Number 2 doesn't look like its parents ! I imagine it's normal.

    You've been rewarded, Jilly.

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  5. Fantastic story, Jilly. Birds are such fine friends, and it is a privilege to have them hang around one's casa! Your tribute to Abe is well deserved, too.

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  6. I must admit I was a bit worried when I saw your title, until the photos came into view! Your 'tits' are lovely! (I'm embarrassed even typing that, ha, ha.)

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  7. Jilly what a FANTASTIC experience!
    And to think that you actually witnessed the baby birds' first flights - how lucky is that ! (lots of patience involved too)

    Considering that you're nowhere near as well equipped as Abe, you did a grand job of recording the event.
    Thanks for this wonderful post.

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  8. Oh how very special and thank you for sharing it with all of us. Your photos are wonderful. I know Abe is very proud of you! :)
    V

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  9. Well, Jilly, this post brought tears to my eyes. My wife says I am way too sentimental but some things make my throat hurt and my eyes water.

    The BP Gulf Oil Spill tears me up. I wish to god it didn't happen and am totally stunned that BP can't fix it. Maybe it is time to put them out of business and give up automobiles.

    What can I say?

    Thanks, just doesn't seem to be quite enough. Here is a poem I wrote about 40 years ago, for you.

    Thinking it Over
    by Abraham Lincoln
    June 19, 1970

    My heart drifts back to yesterday
    And my days of carefree youth.
    When living was fantastic
    And people not uncouth.

    To run and play were our goals
    And your best friends were great.
    Bills and responsibility didn't matter then,
    And most people didn't hate.

    Being just plain kids was enough
    And we lived each day to play.
    Then, wars were popular and heroes too
    But now — well, its hard to say.

    Sometimes it doesn't seem worthwhile
    And world problems are such;
    That just existing is hard and life so short
    That even God doesn't seem to care much.

    Ah, but to be a kid again,
    With you best friends in tow.
    To praise the Lord Aloud
    And get kissed beneath the mistletow.

    Life, I guess, is a blessing.
    To rest here and dream,
    Forgetting all the troubles in the world
    And go on fishing in the stream.

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  10. Birdman says, "Nice work." Home Sweet Home!

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  11. Abe, what a beautiful thought-provoking poem you wrote. Thanks so much for posting it here. Bless you. Your sentiments are too right!

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  12. i have a few box like these at my house. In spring there is a kind of bird that cames to make a house.

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  13. Thank you, thank you for staying at your post another hour to catch this scene for us. I've long loved Abe's backyard bird photography, and I think your captures are splendid. Such beautiful creatures.
    Our friend from whom we bought our little house was an organic gardener. To invite birds to the garden he put up 12 bird houses along the eves of the house, so we enjoy the sounds of the birds nesting, but cannot view them easily (2nd story on the sides of the house). So fun that your little tenants chose to nest within view of you!
    -Kim

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