After all the recent rain a break in the weather this morning allowed us to return to Whitley to check upon the progress of the late brood that we discovered in September. The site has been in regular use now for a decade, but the isolated tree in the middle of the field is gradually showing signs of decay and there seems to be more dead wood than live branches. However, tell-tale signs around the nest box indicated that there were still birds present and upon opening the inspection hatch I was greeting by three large owlets and, surprisingly, mum too.
There were two males and a female chick present, the eldest of which is about a week or so away from starting to take his first exploratory flights in the big wide world. All three birds are in good condition and should have no trouble at all in fledging successfully over the next few weeks. Together they constituted the latest brood of owlets that I have ever ringed.
It is not often that the adult birds roost through the day with youngsters of this age but this mother is still snuggling together with them and she has done a remarkable job in this most difficult of years to raise such a late but healthy brood.