As we approach the mid-point of the Summer term, just a few weeks until the approaching Summer solstice, the woods at Butterdon are bursting with life. The trees are fully in leaf, providing welcome shade from the late May sun, and the sound of birdsong fills the air.
Birds and nests
May is the busiest month for birds, as they nest, lay eggs and care for their young. Here at Running Deer it is easy to spot a number of interesting and beautiful birds going around their daily business. One of the most interesting things we’ve seen is the level of ingenuity that goes into choosing a nesting site. There a few unique nesting locations here at Butterdon.
Right next to main camp, in the busiest part of the woods, we have a pair of treecreepers nesting in our firewood store. They moved in during the Easter holidays, perhaps not knowing that they were building their new home in the middle of a school. They seem to be quite happy though, and are un-phased when we grab some wood for the fire. They can often be spotted flying in and out from tree to tree, scurrying along trunks and branches in the unique manner that gives them their name. Treecreepers are attractive little birds, speckly brown on top with white chests. They are native to the uk and feed on insects, spiders and some seeds during winter.
At our main entrance we have some squatters. Some of our feathered friends have moved into one of our dormouse boxes. The boxes were put up by the Woodland Trust a few years ago to encourage and monitor the local dormouse population. This particular location has been adopted by an opportunistic bluetit family though. They can be seen going in and out every few minutes. If you listen carefully you can hear some scratching inside, so there’s definitely a few chicks inside keeping them busy.
The most ingenious nest location though has to be the wren’s nest. This enterprising couple has built their nest in a coiled length of rope next to our tool store. If you look carefully into the rope coil you can see two big wide open beaks of the little chicks waiting to be fed. Wren’s are one of the smallest songbirds, but they’re also one of the loudest. The chicks are already getting pretty vocal, encouraging their hardworking parents to hurry up with the food!
There are plenty of other species which are easily spotted in our woods. We have chaffinches, robins, nuthatches, and plenty of blackbirds that make up our feathered choir. There is also a cuckoo on site and we’ve had visits from goldfinches and swallows too. The birds are a wonderful part of our environment and entertain us every day.