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Friday, 1 April 2016

Just for the record

..yeah, just for the record. Oh and it was not an April Fools'...

Thursday, 31 March 2016

The more I know, the more...

...I know that I know nothing compare to all that there is that could be known.

It is the one amazing thing about bird watching, about science, about knowledge in general.

Much of what we do, think, much of how we act and interpret the world around us is based on strings of observations, some related some unrelated. We fill in the gaps and construct what we call knowledge.

Data - information - knowledge. There is a great deal of processing along the way.

I have now observed Great Tits building nests for the past 10+ years and had established what I thought was a solid hypothesis that Great Tits build their nests mostly out of moss, some dried grass and some soft material, like animal fur.

I always examined the nests once their owners had left and the hatchlings too. And twigs were just not in the mix.

In an earlier post this week (Just when things start getting exciting...) I commented on the fact that the nesting box was filled with twigs, thin ones, but twigs nonetheless. I conjectured that Eurasian Tree Sparrows might have been active in the nesting box as this is what I had observed in the past.

Well, my friendly readers, I was wrong. Or rather, I now think that I was wrong.

Why Sherlock?

Simple dear Watson!

Today, I observed, for the first time since bird watching, the female Great Tit bring in twigs. Together with some dried grass and moss, she did bring in a significant amount of small twigs.

Now, the question is: was I blind all these years?
Or is something different this year?
Or is this a revolutionary birdy that has decided to do things differently?

So now another chapter begins in the Nistkasten Adventure.

Oh, and Blue Tit also flew past, and peered inside. The season is starting sizzle with nestbox hunting. Oh! how I love it!!

Nest building....the first footage 2016...

Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Something different this is a bit of different post.

It is kind of a surprise, but I don't know if it will work. So it is a double surprise, for the surprisee and the surprisor.

Many years ago, when I was younger and you even more so, two friends met, and did not speak. They did not speak, because, back then, they were not friends. They were meerly two students going about their studying, the one getting high on sugar, the other on discovering the world.

It took a while....many many stories in between which I shall not report here because it would just take too long...but at last they became friends and are every since!

So well, here is to you, as a surprise: Happy Birthday!

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Has Spring arrived at last?

Tonight, for the first night this year, no bird is sleeping in the nesting box. 

This happens when (a) the temperatures are high enough, and (b) when the birds start building nests. As these two generally happen at the same time, it is kind of hard to tell which one is the forcing factor. 

Today, a male and a female Great Tit examined both this nesting box (wood-concrete) and the wooden one out the front of the garden.  

I must say that nesting-box-apartment-search-time is one of my favourite! The birds engage in both searching, examining, courting rituals,...the calls...the movements, the careful examinations, the careful observing of the surroundings. It is one magnificent display and I could just watch for hours.

Monday, 28 March 2016

Birdy Big Brother

...not really much to add to that!

Citizen of the Galaxy... of many books I enjoyed years ago. One of Heinlein juveniles on the topics of slavery, responsibility and citizenship.


First edition cover (

"A wise man could not be insulted, since truth could not insult and untruth was not worthy of notice."

Colonel Brisby had once said, about Pop: "It means being so devoted to freedom that you are willing to give up your own . . . be a beggar . . . or a slave . . . or die -- that freedom may live."

"Give your mind a rest and use your eyes instead. There's a time and place for everything."
"You're right, Jim."
"Goodnight, son," the old beggar whispered. "Good dreams . . . and good luck!"

Setbacks, beginnings, and Gulliverian reflections

Setbacks are never an easy thing. 

Especially so when on the one hand you know that that which is in your range of influence is marginally not enough to undo the current state of affairs and move things forward constructively and on the other hand that which lies ahead is a larger endeavour, not separate just larger, enlightened with a broader range of influence and responsibility, the delightful responsibility that comes with the chance to enable, and is drenched with its apparently inseparable counterpart - the unrelenting supremacy of survival of the one over survival of content - multiplied and transmitted subliminally. 

An image suddenly springs to mind: Gulliver... Gulliver's Travels ( by Jonathan Swift, first published in 1726.

Large and small endeavours alike share obstacles and setbacks. How is it that building a nesting box to visualise what happens inside is not unlike larger endeavours?

I shall recount and we will see....

I have already partially recounted what I did to attain my goal of peering inside my first nesting box: 

What I did not recount is that prior to me starting, I, excited as I always am when I discover something new, be it the smallest screw ever seen - by me, or something as fascinating as proprioception in combination with the doings of gravitational microlensing...

 galaxy cluster: SDSS J1038+4849 - Hubble Space Telescope - Wide Field Planetary Camera 2

...spoke to everyone willing to listen about the adventure I wanted to embark on.
To my utmost surprise I was told that what I wanted to do would never work. 

What?! Something so utterly cool and all I get is: "it will never work".

"Yeah, because it won't" 

Cleverly insightful. 

I was upset and disappointed. And what was more I was upset and disappointed that I was upset and disappointed.  

Oh so really really silly really. The human condition of "not invented here" and of being a human unwilling to accept that there can be such a thing as "not invented here". 

Worries, fears, disappointment, isolationism.

I prefer responsibility, curiosity, fascination, openness, .... in the face of opportunities, challenges and dangers alike. 

If the universe can smile in the face of the forces at work, then I too shall do the same, unremittingly!

Just when things start getting exciting....

....the videoserver stops working! Argh! :-)

The images of last night show that a Great Tit is sleeping in the nesting box which already has some nesting material in it.

Now the wierd thing is: the material that is in there is clearly not moss. And that is a good or a bad thing depending on which birdy you wish to see nesting.

The current content is twigs. The twigs and the way they are placed may indicate sparrows. Perhaps Eurasian Tree Sparrows.

And hence the drama may unfold yet again. The usual territorial fight: Eurasian Tree Sparrows vs. Great Tits.

I have not seen many Blue Tits looking at the nesting box. Then again, I have not been around much to state that I have performed careful and extended observations, so I might be wrong.

I observed a Great Tit bringing in stuff thing morning. I will continue to observe and in the meantime try to fix the videoserver.

Until then I wish you all a serene Easter.