2017 is the best start I have had to a nesting season. Currently I have 7 nest records on the coast made up of 5 Cormorant and 2 Shag although in fairness there's no skill in pointing a telescope at a sea bird colony. No, the real action is down in my local woods.
In 2016 my first nest record came on 9th April and due to not fully knowing the woods (2nd season in there) and too much time spent on the coast I only actually found 11 open nests. To date this year I already have 10 made up of 7 Song Thrush, 2 Blackbird and a Long-tailed Tit with 2 more empty Blackbirds, 7 empty or part built Wren's, 2 part built Magpies and possibly a half built Dunnock nest.
So, how were these active nests found? 5 of the Song Thrush and both Blackbirds were found cold searching suitable habitat such as trees with ivy, honeysuckle etc. Basically evergreen habitats. One of the remaining Song Thrush was spent cold searching an area that a bird had been seen in the previous day and was found in a hollowed out tree trunk at a height of 4m. The remaining nest was found after egg shell was seen on the path with an alarming bird around 30m further along. The LT Tit nest was found by re-visiting a territory where the birds were present last year. Sure enough they were there but just feeding. The next weekend the pair were there again but not giving anything away making an equal number of trips to a gorse bush as they did a thick bramble patch. The week after both birds present again, alarm calling and only visiting the gorse - After a quick search the nest was found fully built ready for lining.
Nest box rounds will start in the next week, my earliest ever egg in them being 15th April (Blue Tit and Nuthatch)
and the images for this year -
Blackbird 1 egg
empty Blackbird nest
Long-tailed Tit nest made of lichen
half built Wren nest
Song Thrush viewed with the aid of a mirror
Wren nest built in ivy against a fence post
Famous - this little guy is the first hatchling recorded for me in 2017
This Wren nest is probably the easiest I will ever find. It was made in leafless climber after the male had dismantled last years nest which was present 3 weeks ago and rebuilt it 3 feet to the right.