The Unit's wildflower meadow is blooming, and the Unit Oak is in leaf. This year we have several biennials flowering- the fox gloves giving impressive flower spikes in colours from pale pink to dark purple, and the teasels will stay standing after the purple flowers are gone, to provide seeds for birds such as goldfinches in the winter. The flowers have attracted a large number of bees, which seem to particularly like the red campion and fox gloves.
This year the Director's bird box was used by Great Tits– we had 9 eggs laid, all hatched on 28th April, and 5 fledged on the 17th May. Great tits would normally feed their young mainly on the green moth caterpillars that have a population boom in early May, but our birds were seen to be bringing a much larger number of spiders than you might expect, maybe due to a lack of trees in the area to support the moth larvae.
Below are two compilation videos- one from the box interior (we have a live feed from the box to a monitor in reception), showing the growth of the chicks; and the other an editted series of visits recorded from outside the box.
For the third year running, the ANU has a live nest camera feed in it's reception. This year the box, located outside the director's window, has been taken by a pair Great Tits. The previous two years the nest was occupied by Blue Tits. The female laid the first egg on the 18th April, and laid the eighth and final egg on the 25th April. All eight eggs had hatched by this morning (10th May), the first having hatched by Sunday afternoon (9th May).
The first installment of the video diary of the nest available to download here (38.5 MB).
For the 6th year running, the Unit is displaying a live camera feed from its nest box on a monitor in reception. The nest box is located outside Prof. Somogyi's office window. This year Blue Tits chose the box, and they laid eleven eggs. However, due to the cold, wet spring they took a break in the middle of laying, which has led to two of the eggs not hatching. There are currently eight surviving chicks.
Once again the nest box outside Prof. Somogyi's office window has been occupied. This year, as last, it is a pair of Great Tits that have chosen to raise their young here. There were 10 eggs laid, and they all hatched on the 3rd May- well timed for when a lot of Unit staff returned after the Royal Wedding holiday weekend.
The Unit has once again been home for nesting birds. This year both the nest box in the car park and the one outside of Prof. Somogyi's office window have been occupied. The car park box has Great Tits nesting, and they have produced three chicks, and Prof. Somogyi's office box has Blue Tits, and currently has two chicks.
The Unit's wildflower meadow is blooming. The flowers are attracting a large number of bees and other insects. The teazles are coming into flower, as the floxgloves are finishing.
The wildflower meadow has for the second year its star performer in flower again: a Common Spotted Orchid, Dactylorhiza fuchsii. Our flower is at the paler end of the spectrum for this species, with white flowers and pink patterns on the labella.