This week I added a new nestbox to the garden; this time not for birds, but for bumble bees.
It's a little bit late really - I should have had this in place about a month or more ago when the queen bumblebees first emerged from their winter hibernation and started looking for nest sites. However, I saw this whilst I was browsing in a garden centre and I couldn't resist! The box is essentially just that: a wooden box (internal dimensions 10x8x18cm) with a bamboo entrance tube (2cm diameter). I placed the box by my pond, partly concealed by a log pile which many queens had previously shown an interest in. It remains to be seen what, if anything, will take up residence.
As I write this I've just watched a male house sparrow (Passer domesticus
) systematically search the gable end of my neighbour's house. It moved along the edge of the roof in steps of between four and five feet at a time, clinging to the wall and inspecting the edge of the roof. I can only imagine that it was looking for a nesting space.
House martin nestbox.
I've never seen a sparrow do this so systematically before. The frustrating thing is that I have two nestboxes constructed and sited specifically for house sparrows just outside my kitchen: I begin to wonder if perhaps they are not situated to the birds liking. If they remain unused this year, I may move them higher up the wall when autumn comes.
Yesterday I saw the first house martins (Delichon urbica
) of the year. When we first moved to this house about eight years ago, I was thrilled that a pair of house martins nested under the eaves. Since then they have only nested once. Last year I put up an artificial house martin nest in the hope of enticing them back, but without success then. I'm hoping for more luck this year.