One of the many joys of a holiday at Mingarry Lodges is the opportunity for close encounters with birds and other wildlife. A variety of woodland birds, including, siskins, redpolls, finches and tits, frequent the feeders around the Lodges providing an opportunity to observe these birds up close. As we are always keen to enhance the wildlife experience for our guests, we have set up nest boxes with bird cameras and live feeds to the Lodges over the past couple of years. The cameras are set up to be viewed on the televisions providing a gripping alternative to terrestrial TV. This has been a real hit with guests staying between April and June when the birds are roosting, nest building and raising young. We often find ourselves looking forward to change over day just to catch up on the latest bird dramas.
This year we had a blue tit in the nest box by Tooting Lodge and a great tit in the box by Hooting Lodge. The blue tits laid 6 eggs, of which 3 hatched on the 2nd June. Meanwhile, over at Hooting Lodge, the great tit had 4 eggs, all of which hatched between the 6th and 7th June. Both sets of chicks have been tendered and fed by the adult birds giving our guests an opportunity to see the secret lives of these Mingarry residents. The three blue tits chicks grew very quickly and fledged this weekend. The four great tit chicks have yet to fledge and are currently growing their primary feathers, so providing further viewing for guests this week.
One of potential perils of breeding in a nest box attached on a tree is that you are easily noticed by greater spotted woodpeckers and other nest raiders. We have a couple of pairs of breeding woodpeckers in the woods behind the lodges and in the past they have raided some of the nest boxes. To guard against this we reinforced our boxes with wire-netting and attach some custom anti-predation devices over the entrance holes. This has worked successfully for the blue tits and we hope the great tits will likewise all fledge.
It has been a pleasure to see all the fledglings around the Lodges, including robins, goldfinches, siskins, coal tits, blue tits, great tits, thrushes, blackbirds as well as some greater spotted woodpeckers. We wish them all a successful first year and look forward to seeing them feeding around the Lodges and breeding next year.