Before I start, I need to make something very plain about Robwatch.

Now most of us know that bats are a protected species and tampering with them is strictly illegal, but was anyone aware that moving a nest is also illegal?

We weren’t.

Fortunately (and I have this on very good authority), the Robin we found behaved in a very unusual manner. It did not take umbrage at having its home tampered with. We managed – more by luck than judgement I’m sure – to move the nest not more than six inches or so and the Robin dutifully incubated her eggs without any trouble.

That’s nothing to the trouble we could have been in.

So please don’t move a nest or tamper with it in any way.

Robwatch begins…

This all started about mid May.

We were doing some work in the garden and in the process moved a stack of timber that was propped up against our little shed.

Lo and behold, an enterprising bird had built a neat little nest in a gap where the shorter lengths of wood stood created a gap between the longer lengths. In this nest were two little eggs.

“What are we going to do?” we thought, like you do.

We felt really bad about disturbing the nest at all, never mind the thought of being responsible for all that hard work going to waste.

“Can’t we build a box for it?” asked Penny, my better half (meaning, couldn’t I?).

For a couple of minutes, I thought about it and well, I couldn’t think of a reason why not. I immediately set to work building a nest box around the size of the nest. Needless to say, the box is pretty big compared to others, but the nest was the primary consideration.

Soon we had the box fixed to the side of the shed and were still wondering if the bird would return. I knew that even if it did, it would be pretty surprised to see its shack replaced by a fully-fledged condo – a bit like ‘Extreme Makeover: Nest Edition’ eh?

Robwatch The robin's new nest box
It was lashed together in as little time as possible, but the finished box went up on the side of the shed

The days went by and one day I happened to look in the nest box. Surprise, surprise, there was a little Robin sat upon the eggs, its little black eyes peering back at me.

“Hoorah!” we exclaimed like a couple of school-kids and went back up to the house feeling very pleased with our doings.

A couple of days later, I had been working in the spare room and had not had the opportunity to look round the garden, the weather best described as ‘inclement’. A dry spell and off I went, only to return at a dead run shouting, “Pen, Pen, where’s your camera?”

She looked a little confused, but produced the object and breathlessly, I disappeared back down the garden the same way I came up – at a dead run. I put the camera through the hole in the front and snapped.

Off went the flash and without stopping to see the results, I returned wobbly and at a stagger, very out of breath to show Pen.

“Oh wow!” she exclaimed.

Robwatch The robin sitting on a new clutch of eggs
There she was, bold as brass, sitting on her eggs

So began Robwatch.

Watching the chicks grow

The enterprising little sausage had not only produced another two eggs, but all four had hatched and looked like a bunch of chipolatas in the bottom of the nest. Now we keep an eye out for them and occasionally poke a worm or two through the hole. We have been rewarded so far, with another two great pic’s of the family of chicks.

Robwatch Here's the chicks looking more like hairy chipolatas
Here’s the chicks looking more like hairy chipolatas

More excited than ever, we continued to spy on our little lodger and her young and a day or two later were able to get the next shot.

Robwatch I'm hungry!
They are definitely alive

Now the little Roblets as Pen had named them, were starting to look a little less like hairy chipolata’s and a bit more like little birds. Again, we kept visiting the box to check up on them, occasionally poking a worm or two through the hole to help mum and Roblets on their way. Robwatch was well under way…

Here they are growing before your very eyes

Robwatch ...but now, their feathers are starting to grow
…but now, their feathers are starting to grow
Robwatch ...until, over the days, they become more and more like real birds...
…until, over the days, they become more and more like real birds…
Robwatch See what I mean?
See what I mean?
Robwatch Now their customary speckled plumage is starting to become more noticeable
Now their customary speckled plumage is starting to become more noticeable

The weather heated up some, so we arranged this to give them some shade

Robwatch A parasol for the roblets
A parasol for the roblets

Now they look little like those hairy chipolatas we saw on day one, in fact, they’re probably more like fledglings

Robwatch Here is the last we saw of them
Here is the last we saw of them

There they were, gone

We didn’t get to see them for a while and when we came back, there was just an empty nest. They must have flown the coop as they say. Robwatch had finished.

During this nest-capade, I sent the first three pictures off to the Blackmore Vale Magazine and The Western Gazette.

I was absoilutely shocked to discover that very Friday (2nd June) I saw the article and two of the pictures in the Blackmore Vale and the following week, another article appeared in the Western Gazette.

It has not sadly brought fame and fortune (yet) but it’s a start…..