In early May I had two pair of Tree Swallows & a pair of Bluebirds checking out my four boxes. I went off to Shetland & Cornwall for a month. Came back to three empty boxes, the fourth inhabited by Chickadees. Bluebird pair busy working the garden now so must have a nest in the woods. Phoebes hatched & fledged from their traditional nest on the barn while I was gone. Catbird active in the blueberry orchard.
Experience of a lifetime: Shetland sea bird & seal boat trip to the Gannet, Guillemot, Razorbill & Fulmar nesting colonies on 500ft (?) cliffs of the island of Noss; Skuas, Terns & Puffins flying over & around the vessel; plus into a cave with a submersible robot to show us brilliant anemones, limpets, starfish and soft coral!
In Cornwall the rooftop nesting Herring Gulls just hatched before I left. Riveting to see the brown fuzzballs scampering up and down the steep roofs, parents on alert for invaders. My brother just reported leaving his back door open and turned around to find a gull inside the kitchen with him, tearing into his bag of garbage! EU regs now forbid fishermen discarding guts so the gulls are desperate for any food they can find. Nesting pairs are on the decline. On the upside Cornish Choughs have had a very successful breeding year in the wild (on my Bucket List to see next trip).
Shelagh Smith back in Leicester, mind still in the UK!