During July and August, the breeding season is pretty much over for blackbirds. Males, after weeks of feeding young look pretty worn and some have lost many of the feathers of their heads. Males take care of the fledglings of the first brood, while females lay the second clutch and incubate. Blackbirds might have a third clutch, so that males spend more time feeding chicks - that is, sticking their beaks into their chicks' open beaks. The stresses of the long breeding season and offspring demands might be responsible for most of the bald blackbirds at this time of year. Not to worry, they will moult in the next few weeks and look black and glossy again in time for winter. The top photo, of a very bald one, was taken a couple of weeks ago.
Another bedragled looking male from this morning
This male collecting food for his young was not looking too bad on the 10th of July.
I always keep an eye for House Martin's nests near home. So far I had only counted three lone nests under house eaves, with evidence that before there were more together. Despite this lack of local nests, I see plenty of House Martins around in summer, and I often wondered where they nested. Last week I took a different route to work, hoping to see the last chasing swifts of the season. As I walked, I noticed the soft chirping of many House Martins, they were flying, circling just over a street and coming close and away a building. I approached them, a group of more than 30, probably including many juveniles. Some juveniles were still inside nests, and the coming and going of feeding adults was well underway. Their nests were located in a hundred year old building, a local primary school. The roof has wide eaves with paired beams, and many of the nests were placed in between the beams. I counted 18 nests on the east south side, some looking very fresh, and there were as probably as many more on the other sides. Lovely to see the activity of the colony, and also how vocal House Martins are when young are around, some chirping with a more shrill high call.
I know now that these house martins spend the summer at school.
Woodpigeons are one of my favourite birds. It was the first species I identified through a bird guide (in Spain, it is not as widespread in towns and much shier than here). I took this photo yesterday, a Woodpigeon just sitting on a roof, just like they do.