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May 2008 -3-

13 May


Beautiful sunshine and blue sky 25 degrees.


The family sleeps a few seconds just the time for a photograph.
You begin to see the start of tail feathers.

On the wings, the band of white feathers (enlarge).

The mother, a foot on the edge of the nest, the other on a chick carries out his household.

Nichée Nichée




Yesterday evening visitor. An Angle Shades.

[Phlogophora meticulosa. Noctuidae. Hadeninae.]

It is a moth, a nice moth (form brown-red).

This is a big butterfly, polyphagous, which measures from 40 to 50mm. The larvae are bright green and brown. Oh, bright green? Perhaps the caterpillars of tits. Or not, because it is true that the green is fairly common among caterpillars. It flies from May to October.

The Angle Shades occupies the whole of France from forest to urban milieus. The caterpillars are active throughout the year.

There are two migratory species, vineyards visitors.


14 May

28°C warm and fine.


Short photo seance.

For a beautiful arrival (enlarge).




It's her at left. At the top with him, she claims continuously as a chick, waving feverishly the wings. Not very large prey at this time. I have seen butterflies, some spiders, some small caterpillars.
The past two weeks, we put a few mealworms on the terrace in the morning and in the evening to give a little supplement. Since Sunday they are used. Probably, so far, they were too big for chicks.

Adults pull to pieces large prey for themselves, when they can not swallow them whole. But they do not cut into small pieces prey for chicks; they must have the suitable size for small throats. Hence the frequent taking back of prey too big.


All the brood and spreads over the nest.

The feathers begin to be visible on the long legs.
The tail feathers are clearly visible.

rayuresNice striped pyjamas. The black is dotted with pink and a little white.

Second white stripe on the wings. Always a handsome ear.




18h, a thunderstorm, it rains. The first time since May 2.

She returned in the nest box and protects its chicks. She took the opportunity to redo some order into the nest bowl, which collapses under the young.



Tidier. Isn't?
The rain is already finished.


15 May

Rain tonight. Grey sky this morning. 22 °C. Grey and sun in the afternoon.

Yesterday evening, a fight between two black robins on the terrace. This is the first time I saw such a battle. Like two gamecocks: one in front of the other and clinging by their legs.

Yesterday evening rained, it was less hot and she came to warm up them lengthily several times.
At night, she still often sleeps on the edge of the nest and not in the bowl on her chicks.

AraignéeIs this due to rain? Abundance of preys this morning.

Uninterrupted comings and goings and feedings:

I counted 36 in half an hour! Good for the chicks, it is true that accounts for just five meals.


A lot of spiders and also caterpillars, but quite small and brown. I did not see any of these beautiful green juicy caterpillars. No good pictures, they enter directly into the nest box and it is rare that they make a short break before entering. Then, locate an arrival, finding the bird, focus (well, try), trigger, all this it's very good for entertaining reflexes, but seldom successful when they stay on a branch just the time for a touch and go.



They begin to resemble to birds. More and more feathers are visible. The head is covered. Ears are just visible.

And "underneath"? A small V of yellow feathers.

I didn't arrive to see an eye really half-opened. However, they are 10 days old and they should begin to half open the eyes.

On this video, you can see a chick already arranging its feathers (well, the beginnings of feathers). The first two beakfuls it's mum ("bottom" on the photo) and dad arrives, recognizable by its delicacy, he is who perches "on top".

Watch VIDEO   (2356 1mn)

Nichée .


Some comings and goings.





And, as I like them very much, a little tour with our friends the sparrows and their offspring always irresistible to observe.


You give it, say, you give us it?

MoineauWell, where is he?


Ah! No! Now you eat it!


Hello? Not hungry?


And then, a good little nap, one against the other.


16 May

Sun and beautiful white-grey clouds. 18 ° - 25 °C.

First feedings at 5:45.
At 6:15, the mother remains in the nest a big quarter of an hour to warm her chicks.

YeuxThey opened their eyes.


For the first time, they will see what they eat...



Some butterfly this morning. This is a butterfly on the terrace, a small moth; she has caught it on the balcony.

Permiers essais

Already the first few tests flapping.

And yellow sinkholes always at the ready.




You can see the dotted form of the cap, black, not yet blue. It will come much later, when they take their adult livery.

As her!

The plumage takes shape and begins to show white and pale yellow on the wings, neck and  the sides of the chest.


18h, thunderstorm and rain.


17 May

18°C Sun, big clouds, thunderstorms, heavy rains.


.Increasingly tit-like. They group one against each other. They sit rather than lying.
We had several thunderstorms and heavy rains during the day. Temperature drops during the rain. She returned and remained in the nest box at the height of the storm.

From time to time she takes a look through the entrance. Still not finished this rain?

Repeated wings movements.

In the night they spill a little.


18 May

.14 °C, grey. 5:30 breakfast. And then the second breakfast, and then the next one...


And again and again. No break for the parents which continue their comings and goings.

Baby sparrow perches on the nest box. This do not seems to worry the tit which continues to go about her business.


He is curious and would like to visit this strange box.

The black mask across the eyes is well marked. 14 days from number 1.

They donned their black and yellow dress. On the chest feathers grow.


Hors de la coupe

Little tour on the edge of the nest. The tail is well developed. Note the white scruff.

1mn14 in the nest: Watch VIDEO   (2566ko 1mn14s)


19 May

Cold this morning, 9 °C. Wind, 17°C in the afternoon.

Le soirUnfortunately what I already feared yesterday is confirmed. The father has disappeared.

I had not heard him since yesterday. The mother enters directly in the nest box but the father always signalled his arrival. Nothing at all day yesterday. This morning, he is not hera early to give the first feeding. Weather is cold, she stayed until 6:15 in the nest.

The mother continues to feed her young. I watched all photos from the evening of the16th. On the morning of 17, they are both still visible. Then, there is just her. Alone, can her succeed in feeding 7 youngsters? They are beautiful and have 14 and half days, 5 days from now they should leave, but there is just the period before their fledging. After their fledging they are still fed by their parents for over a month. The mother alone will have difficulties to gather the entire group when they go out. Then she must continue to feed them. I hope that giving her a hand she will be able to raise her youngsters.

Yesterday evening she waited for a long time near the nest box, until it was really dark (the photo was taken at 21h15).
We must guard against anthropomorphism, but she seems very gloomy.

We will provide the mother a good supply of mealworms to help her. She continues courageously to go hunting and do not just pick up into the provisions. The chicks are beautiful, well feathered and appear to be at the same stage of development. One, this morning, exercises his wings.


This one has spread his wings to present his rump, thus allowing seeing the good development of primaries.
If they fly well at the fledging they will have more chance.



On another register, here is a short visit to the great tit family. Only one youngster accompanied by both parents, which must mean that this year brood should not be very big. Or is it the latest, which has just come out?
But just alone, she does a great uproar and is insatiable.
Clearly, this corner of balcony sees pass all the youngsters, they all seem to take shelter here. It saw pass sparrows, and greenfinches this tit youngster.




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