Friday, 29 July 2011

Challenging breeding

On Wednesday evening Roy and I returned to one of our new breeding pairs to check upon their progress. Despite having eggs in early June the attentive female was still brooding an increased clutch of six eggs. We suspect that some of the earlier eggs may be infertile and that she has tried again. We will return in a month or so to see what developments occur.

Trip to the East

I had the pleasure of accompanying Michael Miles to check a couple of boxes close to Alderley Edge on Wednesday afternoon. There were very fresh Barn Owl pellets in the first box and then this stunning female was roosting quietly in the second. She has a well-developed brood patch and could well  have a clutch of young nearby.

Sunday, 24 July 2011

100th chick ringed of the breeding season

A late brood of three young this afternoon provided the 100th young owlet that I have ringed this season. The more satisfying fact, however,was that the farmer who accompanied me to witness the ringing was able to see young barn owls for the first time in his life and he is nearly 80!

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Mixed News

I was left with a sickening feeling yesterday afternoon when I discovered that one of our broods of young owls has been the subject of human predation. Details have been passed on to the local constabulary's Wildlife Crime Officer.

Later on however, I found this smashing brood of three at a new breeding site. Four more chicks needed to reach 100 for the year.

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Two broods ready to fledge

A last minute decision to venture out and check a couple of boxes was rewarded with the discovery of two broods of fine owls last night.

All five owls are old enough already to be making their first flights and in a month or so their parents will ensure that they go and make their own ways in the world.

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Another healthy brood.

A break in the weather this morning enabled me to ring this brood to the south of Middlewich. Both were very healthy although one decided to nod off and not pose for the camera!
We have now ringed 79 young Barn Owls this year.

Happy visitor.

I was able to show some visitors around yesterday and was pleased to introduce them to three new broods of owls. A morning that was enjoyed by all.

Three years running

For the third year running I met this couple last night. They have bred in the same box  each time and remarkably, for experienced birds, they have raised only one owlet each time. Nevertheless, they are both looking very healthy and have coped with the last two extreme winters.

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Update from 9 June

I returned to check upon the new breeding pair at Kingsley a couple of night's ago. Two of the three young have survived (a male and a female) both of which were healthy and well-fed.

Tom's Barn Owl

Following on from the breeding Tawny Owls earlier in the year, I returned on Thursday evening to check upon the progress of the Barn Owls. There was mixed news as there was still only one owlet, a 45 day old male, but the other egg had proven to be infertile. Nevertheless, this fellow will have no problems fledging and he should be out flying within a couple of weeks.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

A year later

I ringed this little lady in June last year. She was recovered by Alastair in Warmingham yesterday as a proud mum with two young of her own.

Sunday, 3 July 2011

Pleased to see you!

After a very hot day yesterday, having visited twelve boxes, getting bitten by dozens of insects, cut by brambles and stung by many nettles I found these three waiting in the thirteenth and final box of the day.
Suddenly it's all worthwhile!