One of the things we should all do at this time of year is to clear out our nestboxes. Once you've disposed of any contents, you can disinfect the box with boiling water. Let it dry out, and perhaps put some wood shavings or hay (not straw) inside in case it's used over the winter as a roost.
We followed our own advice and cleaned out our poor Pied Wagtail nest. Andrew did the intrepid ladder-climbing and popped the abandoned nest and eggs in a plastic tub for inspection.
The nest is made of twigs and some moss, and has been lined with feathers, hair and some wool. The clutch of 5 eggs is typical (according to the BTO data in our Breeding Birds software). I guess we'll never know why the nest failed. It could have been the super-hot spell we had whilst the birds were incubating. I'm going to re-site the box somewhere more shaded for next year.
Other happenings this week included a trip to visit invertebrate-artist god, Richard Lewington (where entertainingly there was a grasshopper perched on his front wall). A meeting with the good people of Bumblebee Conservation Trust was very productive, and I finally finished fiddling with my new Lindo at Large. It'll be appearing on the webzine very soon.