A month after suspecting a nuthatch was visiting a nest hole, (my blog of 30th April) I returned to see if anything was happening there.
The bracken had grown up considerably since my first visit, acting as an umbrella over my dog as we navigated the narrow track. Brambles and gorse also made progress slower this time. It seemed much quieter generally than last time. With the breeding season well underway now - territories established and mates chosen - there is less for birds to sing about and more work to be done feeding young.
On reaching the glade, I was again careful to keep well back from the tree, and settled myself into a semi comfortable position, still and quiet. With the camera on maximum zoom, I immediately saw an adult outside the hole, with a beak full of grubs. After it flew off again, I was stunned to witness this:
A few years ago I was lucky enough to notice a couple of juvenile great spotted woodpeckers looking out of their nest the day before they fledged. To arrive, once again, at the very moment these nuthatches were fledging, struck me as highly unlikely. There's serendipity and serendipity. Most birds don't return to the nest after fledging, but I wondered if nuthatches might be different. Had they used it as a roost the previous night, and simply been having a lie-in? Internet research hasn't definitively answered that. It's possible. However, they still seemed a little unsteady on their legs and wings.
Today, in the same general area, but on the main piste, I watched two adults (presumably) investigate a couple of old woodpecker holes. If our village council hadn't strimmed a fire-break last year, I would probably never have seen them: