Morning Pride start to the day. Dense mist and all is still, so different than the crash, bang, wallop of the previous day. Willow warblers singing since March 30, finding the first of wood anemones.
Once again we have found the small clump of bright orange lesser celandines in the usual bend on the wood path. Opposite them in the earth bank a pair of coal tits are nesting down inside a mammal hole and a large bumble bee hums as it investigates another.
Coal tits are common in deciduous mixed woods but they seem to prefer coniferous forestry sites and in the breeding season nest almost invariably in holes. They are the smallest of the British tits and present all the year, eating beetles, flies and other insects as well as plant food.
Both adults build the nest using moss and hair with a few feathers, producing a neat cup for the seven-nine eggs. The male feeds his mate while she incubates these for about 14-16 days, the young leaving the nest at 16-19 days from hatching.
The scientific name is Parus ater, Parus being Latin for a titmouse and ater Latin for black, a reference to the black cap which has white cheeks and nape patch. Old country names include black cap, coalmouse, coaly hood and black ox-eye. The coal referred to is not the hard, shiny black mineral but charcoal.
The bird will take readily to nest boxes and even as I write this a pair is investigating my box number, some 40 metres from number 17 which has again been claimed by great tits.
Tomorrow: Osprey About