04 June 2014

Whitethroat breeding

Whitethroats are always a feature of summer on the south Gower cliffs. In May and June there is a often a soundtrack of the scratchy, rhythmic song and harsh calls of these attractive warblers. In spring and early summer they are often quite easy to see, singing from an exposed perch or in a brief, jerky songflight. They nest in scrub, quite often bramble. Once a pair is feeding young they forage relentlessly and often noisily, catching a variety of larvae, insects and spiders. I have been watching a pair nesting in Mewslade valley over the past 10 days or so. It has been interesting to see the variety of prey collected to take to the chicks. Some examples are shown below.

I don't have the knowledge to identify what all of these food items are, but perhaps someone can help on this!

The chicks obviously responded well to their varied carnivorous diet, because they fledged yesterday (June 3). It was difficult to count them, but my best guess is there were five juveniles. One of them is shown below.

There are other breeding pairs of Whitethroats in the Mewslade area, so I hope this performance will be repeated several times over the next few weeks.


Barry Stewart said...

Philip, not quite enough resolution for the crickets and other spindly things, but the caterpillar could possibly be a wainscot. The only one I'm 100% sure about is the moth, which is a Brown Silver-lines. Nice montage. which shows the birds have a nice varied diet!

Philip Croft said...

Thank you, Barry. I should have cropped each individual photo more before making the montage so that it was possible to get more resolution on the prey.