Here’s the scene next to a busy public footpath:
It may appear tranquil but deep within the brambles is a Long-Tailed Bushtit’s nest. There’s a constant procession of adult birds bringing invertebrates in to the chicks. It’s not just the parents supplying provisions; I’ve counted at least five birds arriving back at the same time and making their own circuitous route to the hidden nest.
I’ve moved around to below the birds, come in the evening so the direction of light is right, and positioned myself so there’s a tiny sliver of blue sky behind their normal flightpath.
Then one bursts from the brambles and makes a dash for the nest:
There’s a caterpillar and a spider safely gripped in its beak.
I enjoy the irregular way they fly and hang in the air between wingbeats:
This one has a traffic light arrangement of invertebrates.
And having the long legs of this fly in your eye-line must get annoying. It’s like trying to drive with a cracked windscreen.
It hops around the perch and heads off to the nest:
With this supply of food the chicks must be growing fast now, surely.
Long-Tailed Bushtits usually only live for two years. This may be their last chance for children. The entire family of aunts and uncles who have probably lost their broods are chipping in with help.
I hope they make it.