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Rosedale Community News

Welcome to the Rosedale blog. This is where we share news and information about events in Rosedale and the wider community throughout the year. You’ll also find news about the village timetable, our micro enterprises, school events, clubs, and lively socials.

Posts Tagged ‘Birds’

Nuthatch success

You may recall here in late March a female nuthatch preparing an old woodpecker nest hole to use as her own. On 26th March she was seen taking mud to the old woodpecker hole and applying it in and around the entrance. She also carried wood chips which she stuck in the mud to help bulk it out. She does this to reduce the size of the entrance to minimise the risk of predation or another bird taking over the nest site. Twice a great tit was seen going in only to be chased out very aggressively by the male nuthatch. The male, distinguished by chestnut red flanks, keeps guard during the whole breeding process and will fend off any intruders. During the early stages he sang from just above the nest hole and from the top of the trees. The female continued to ‘mud up’ around the entrance and to watch her size the hole to fit her body exactly was intriguing. She would go in and then squeeze her body out slowly, presumably allowing the wet mud to adjust to her exact body shape.

On two days in April, 14th and 18th they were seen mating on a branch very close to the nest hole. It is not known if she had already started laying eggs by this time. Some birds mate up to 30 days before egg-laying, others just before and some during the egg-laying stage. Nuthatches usually lay 6-8 eggs and the female incubates them after having laid the last egg. Incubation lasts 15-16 days. During this time the male keeps guard and also occasionally feeds her at the nest hole. The female was certainly occupying the nest hole i.e. sitting on eggs, on 27th April when the male was seen to feed her at the nest hole three times at 20 minute intervals. She actually came out to see off a blue tit and went straight back in. Over the incubation period more often he was seen to ‘call for his lady’, peering in the hole and flying off closely followed by her and they would feed away for about 10 minutes before she returned to her duties.

On 12th May the female arrived at the nest hole a number of times with food for her newly hatched nestlings. Each time she was seen to dip down in to the hole and out and away. During these early stages of feeding the young the male wasn’t seen to help but was close by in the trees, occasionally being heard with a contact call or short song. The female occasionally went in the hole completely and brought out a fecal sac for disposal away from the nest, cleaning up after her young. As days passed, the male was also seen to feed the young. Feeding young nuthatches at the nest lasts for 23-25 days.

On 2nd June both adults were feeding at the nest hole and periodically a nestling would appear at the entrance awaiting delivery. Obviously the young were getting big enough to think about leaving. The next day fledging was in progress, with the young being coaxed out by the adults, both having food in their bills. An adult would call at the hole and hold on to the food working back on to a branch with a fledgling following to then receive the morsel. At least four of possibly 6-8 young nuthatches were seen coming out of the nest hole and up the tree trunk flitting about in the branches. The final act was the male entering the hole and exiting alone not to return. All gone. 26th March-3rd June: the privilege was all mine. Nature is wonderful, especially when she lets you in Updale Natural History Recorder

Female nuthatch preparing nest entrance

Mating or more precisely copulation taking place close to nest site

Male nuthatch on duty near nest hole, red flanks clearly visible

Well grown young nuthatch getting close to fledging

Summer migrants return

Two of the earliest summer migrants come back to Rosedale each year, ring ouzels and wheatears.  Both are back on the moor and pairing up.  Ring ouzels nest on heather-clad steep slopes and wheatears favour open stoney ground.   Both can be seen from the old railway line.  Updale Natural History Recorder

Male and female ring ouzel

Female wheatear


Nuthatch preparing nest hole

To watch a female nuthatch preparing a nest hole is amazing.  She selects an old hole, often an old woodpecker nest hole as in this case and she transforms it.  She infills crevices and/or reduces the size of the cavity using mud and bits of rotten wood.  She will also use mud to reduce the size of the entrance to minimise the risk of predation.  The male, distinguished by chestnut red flanks, keeps guard during this process and will fend off any intruders.  Updale Natural History Recorder

Female nuthatch working on nest cavity

Nuthatch uses mud and bits of rotten wood

Tawny owl makes a welcome daylight appearance

Tawny owls are very vocal in late autumn and throughout winter but we don’t often get to see them in all their splender. How lucky local residents Bob and Janet Morton were to have a tawny owl in their garden recently, on two separate occasions. Bob has captured the warm chestnut brown feathering, distinct facial disc and somewhat dumpy appearance beautifully.  Very many thanks Updale Natural History Recorder

lighter tones underneath with distinct facial disc

warm chestnut brown feathering

Hawfinches in Rosedale

Fantastic to see these secretive and increasingly rare birds here in Rosedale.  At least five hawfinches are in and around the churchyard feeding on yew berries.  The hawfinch is the largest of our finches with a top-heavy look due to a large bill and thick neck.  With this powerful bill the hawfinch is able to crack open cherry stones.  They also feed on seeds from hornbeam and yew.  Autumn 2017 saw an unusually large influx in to the UK as a result of a crop failure in Europe and there have been a number of sightings in North Yorkshire.  But how lucky we are to get some in Rosedale and it certainly could be a first record for some time.  With great appreciation to Craig and Helen at Abbey Stores for the tip-off  and the best view of these shy birds.  Updale Natural History Recorder

Snow covered dale

Stunningly beautiful walk in the snow at dusk along the old railway line at Rosedale East.  The low mist adds to the atmospheric conditions as the light fades.  A pair of stonechats break the silence with their presence as do three wrens flitting together in the rushes  Updale Natural History Recorder