A nest of fluffy chicks

#30DaysWild No. 5 This bevy of fluffy chicks is packed into a nest nestled in a tussock of grass on Popehouse Moor Site of Special Scientific Interest.

We’re not entirely sure what species they are, but a rather slight looking adult bird flew up and away, and could have been a chiff chaff. When we first found the nest, a week or so ago, we thought it might be a pipit’s nest. The nest is right by the path, and low down. But this time the bird we saw didn’t look streaky or stocky enough for a pipit. And certainly, chiff chaffs are everywhere right now. They nest low down too.

There are about 1.2 million chiffchaff territories in the UK, and in this part of Devon they are summer residents (in some places, especially near the coast, they are starting to over winter as climates warm). They are generally the first warblers we see each spring – or hear rather. The Chiff Chaff Chiff Chaff song, heard from March, is a clear indication that the year has turned and summer will soon come.

The chicks take about 15 days to fledge, and the adults can raise two broods in a year. Whether they use the same nest we’re not sure. In a few weeks the cows will be put in to graze this part of Wheatland Farm, and that nest does look rather vulnerable. Maybe we’ll have to fence it off somehow. Perhaps we could put some branches around it to dissuade casual trampling.

It’s also nests like these that are the reason we’re asking visitors to the eco lodges to keep dogs on leads this breeding season. A moment’s canine curiosity could be the end of all of them. So thank you for taking care!

30DaysWild Previously

This time last year: we were making a new stone sink stand in the lodge field, partly for covid hygiene, and partly to provide some new habitat.

This time in 2019: We were admiring the poppies and thinking about DDay Remembrance

This time in 2018: We’d just added the new Wheatland Farm labyrinth.

This time in 2017: We were helping a toad to the pond