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Western Rock Nuthatch (Sitta neumayer) nest at the upper Hermon mountain, altitude 2000
The nest discussed was found by me back in May 2003 and was observed to be active on that year. I did not follow this nest till 25.5.07 but in that year I found it to be active as well.
This year I checked the nest twice: on 12.6.08 I found it inactive, and on 20.6.08 I found both male and female around and inside the nest.
The area of the nest is very rocky as seen in the pictures below.
These small cliffs are very fruitful, producing 3 fox cabs that immerged from the lair on the 12th of June.
Some Syrian Serins nests around, Sombre Tit family, and some lizards Sp.
On the 21st afternoon, the Nuthatch male and female seemed very active, collecting fox wool and fruits, and taking them into the nest.
The most striking thing was the male activity - from time to time the male was observed collecting beetles of the Species Clytra nigrocincta, belonging to the family Chrysomelidae, and squashing them on the outer surface of the nest.
When looking closely at the nest surface I noticed that it is covered with red orange dots and when looked even closer I understood that each dot represents a beetle wings and/or beetle-juice - there are multiple beetle remains inside the nest.
If not surprising enough, the male was seen bringing some caterpillar Sp. worms and repeating the same ritual.
It is possible that this ritual is meant to impress the female, or perhaps the beetle juice offers the birds protection from parasites?
Other then that, the birds were in and out of the nest, sometimes just checking the neighborhood, checking the nest, looking for more bugs, and of course prining and resting.
Great fun to watch this high altitude pair.
(Nycticorax nycticorax) Ma'agan Michael, Aug.04
(Ficedula parva) Mitzpe Ramon, Oct.05
(Emberiza cia) Mt. Hermon, Jun.05