Wild West Yorkshire nature diary
long-tailed titgrey squirrel

Nest Robbers

Wednesday 12th April 2000
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constructing the nest IT'S SO WET that for my short walk today I keep to shelter of the wood. I stop to look for the Long-tailed Tit's nest and it takes a few minutes search before I realise that all that's left of it is a slipper-shaped remnant caught amongst the old bracken stems at the foot of the birch tree. A tiny white egg, that would fit inside a thimble, lies broken beside it.

remains of the nest The fabric is stretchy, as you'd expect since it is held together by spider's webs. Flakes of green grey lichen are dotted about to give an effect like camouflage netting. What I thought were pieces of Cladonia lichen are actually small lengths of dry grass which seem to have been put in as stiffening around the top. Mixed in between the lichens are pieces of a feathery moss.

It's been recorded that 'up to 2,000 feathers' have been found incorporated into one of these nests. There are only about twenty small feathers, which may be from a pigeons wing, although it's possible some of the lining might have been removed.

I'm sorry to see all that work go to waste. My first thought, as it is so near the footpath, is that children might be responsible for pulling down the nest, but, when I think about it, it could just as easily be a Grey Squirrel, a Magpie or a woodpecker. It is quite likely that one or the other could have come across it in such an exposed situation.

golden saxifragegolden saxifrage on willow log Golden Saxifrage brightens the wet ground amongst the Crack Willows in the valley bottom.

Richard Bell
Richard Bell,
wildlife illustrator

E-mail; 'richard@daelnet.co.uk'

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