Nature's up and downs
There was none of the usual flurry of nest repairing and when the nests of the 2 at the front of the bungalow crumbled and broke up during the very wet weather, there was no attempt to rebuild as had happened in other years; the martins simply vanished.
There were far fewer 'mutual' nest building attempts between adults and generally, the housemartins were seemingly reluctant to raise their broods.
Normally we expect at least 3 broods from each nest and there are visible signs that we willingly need to 'clean up' e.g. remains of egg shells and piles of droppings which have to be cleared at least once a week.
Housemartin leaving the nest by David R John on BBC Wales Nature Flickr:
This year, we have found no shells and very little in the way of droppings.
Usually the martins gather on telegraph wires in large congregations about a week before the final migration but this year they have disappeared without trace with no prior warning of their departure.
We are situated high above the village in a very rural setting where the prevailing wind blows from the estuary but our large garden allows us to play host to a wide variety of birds, including a buzzard, as well as a badger and a vixen with her two cubs for almost two years.
Sadly, in the spring of 2008, we found the body of the badger in the garden and earlier this year, the remaining fox disappeared.
We have, from time to time, had to seek the services of the local authority's pest control officer to keep down the rat population; one of the hazards among the many blessings of living in the countryside!" - Maureen Jenner
- Have you had similar experience of housemartins failing to nest under your roof this year?