Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Survival of the fittest

I returned to Lach Dennis this evening to revisit the three chicks that I had found on June 5th. As often happens there were only two remaining for me to ring as the third has been devoured by one of it's two remaining siblings.

Monday, 27 June 2011

More breeding pairs

A handsome fellow who had travelled over 21km from his natal site near Tattenhall to rear three healthy owlets at Stublach. Unusually, he was found in the nest box with the young and there was no sign of mum. He may be a single parent and, if so, he is doing a fantastic job as all three owlets were in really good shape.

Altogether seven new breeding sites were found over what was a fantastic weekend. Twenty one young birds were discovered and things are beginning to look quite healthy for the 2011 breeding season.

Bumper session

A trip to one of our regular breeding sites on Saturday evening was rewarded with a nice healthy brood of four feisty Kestrels (in the regular Barn Owl box) and then four young Barnies in the adjacent box. The owls were happy to go back to sleep as I ringed them whereas their falcon neighbours were more interested in drawing my blood!

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Another female with good taste.

Tonight I found another of Alastair's females that had the good taste to set up home at Whatcroft in Mid-Cheshire. She had been ringed as a chick last June in Great Barrow.
She had a brood of three young which were duly ringed and tucked back safely with Mum.

Monday, 20 June 2011

Breeding season in full swing

A hectic few days has revealed some interesting developments. Checks on Saturday resulted in a complete blank and the loss of some long standing breeding sites. One, in Appleton, was expected as the breeding male had been discovered frozen to death during the cold winter.

Sunday was much more positive with two broods of chicks ringed, four at Tabley and five at Lach Dennis. Additionally I found a new breeding female with five young at another site at Tabley. These birds are much further behind their near neighbours as the chicks were only about a week old. This was a very pleasing result as the nest boxes at Tabley had only been erected in December 2009 and the early part of 2010 respectively.

John was also conducting checks and had found two breeding pairs at Acton Bridge, one in a box that we had modified last February and the other in another comparatively new box that had been put up in October 2009. I went along in the evening to ring a second-year female bird along with her three owlets. Another new breeding site was found in nearby Onston and I will visit the site in July to ring the young.

A quick dash out on Monday evening resulted in another new breeding female at a new breeding location South of Winsford. This box had been erected in October 2009 and although it has been used as a roost this was the first time that breeding has taken place. The young have only just been hatched and I will return in five or six weeks time to check upon their progress.

Saturday, 18 June 2011

Hello again

I found another breeding pair at Whitegate on Thursday evening. Interestingly the male bird had been ringed as a chick near Stretton in 2007. I had not seen him since and his whereabouts for the last four years remains a mystery.

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

More pairs

A good search around Little Budworth last night revealed two more breeding pairs of Barn Owls and another brood of three Kestrels for me to ring.

Monday, 13 June 2011

A fruitful evening

A trip to check boxes tonight was rewarded with the discovery of three more breeding pairs.

At Cuddington I recovered a first year breeding female that had the good taste to leave the territory of my friend Alastair (who ringed the bird last year at Alvanley) and set up home with us where she was happily brooding five young.
I then found a brood of four healthy chicks that were duly ringed in nearby Crowton. On to Norley where there was another first year bird brooding some young chicks. She was previously unringed and represents another addition to our breeding population.

Saturday, 11 June 2011

New breeding female.

A new breeding bird was found tonight at Arley. I had ringed her as a chick last July and she has ventured 4km South East to set up home and quickly become part of the local breeding population.
A fantastic end to a productive day.


Following on from this morning's Kestrels, Roy and I found another two broods this evening; one at Great Budworth and the other at Arley.
Fourteen Kestrels ringed today!

Brood of Kestrels

Following a call from our Group Chairman, John, this morning I made the short journey to ring this smashing brood of five Kestrels at Tabley.

Thursday, 9 June 2011

A new breeding pair

I found a new breeding pair along with three chicks yesterday at Kingsley. The male had been ringed in the adjacent box last June when he was roosting alone; his new mate is a two year old unringed female. The young should be ready for me to ring in July.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Another old friend and chicks to ring too!

I caught this lovely lady at Weaverham last night; she had bred in the same box last year when she raised three young. This time she was sat with four healthy chicks which were old enough for me to ring (the first of the season).

You can see the interested crowd in the background!

Sunday, 5 June 2011

An old friend

I found another breeding bird at Lach Dennis today. She is a four year old female who has bred in the area for the last three years after venturing North from her natal site in Sandbach (where she was ringed in 2007). She was the subject of my disappointment last week when she was not to be found in the boxes that she has used for the last two years.

She has three owlets this year and the picture demonstrates the asynchronous laying of the Barn Owl. I will return to ring the chicks at the end of the month.

Saturday, 4 June 2011

A new breeding pair - in a new box.

I found a new breeding pair this evening at Great Budworth. I had ringed the female (top) on 07.06.2009 at Tabley (a distance of 5km away). The male (below) was unringed and he was hatched last year.

The boxes had been erected last November and so this represents a really quick success which has undoubtedly been bolstered by the provision of wide set-aside strips around the barley crop.

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Breeding Pairs

I found two more breeding pairs this afternoon at Lach Dennis, each with chicks that were a few day's old. There are now three pairs here within a square mile of each other. Above is one of the proud mothers; a new bird to us that was hatched last year. She had very few speckles but had a large brood patch which positively identifies the bird as a female.

 Disappointingly though a pair of boxes that have held breeding birds since 2008 were both occupied by Stock Doves.

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Barn Owls at Tom's.

I went back to Tom's tonight to check the Barn Owl boxes and was delighted to find GC51793 sat with a newly hatched chick. I had ringed her in June last year at Daresbury when she had paired up with a male (but they did not breed). She has travelled about three miles since then and looks to be in top condition.
The chicks should be ready to ring in July.

We have had both breeding Barn and Tawny Owls on the farm this year.