With just a couple of hours to spare this evening I decided to visit a nearby farm to check upon one of my Tawny Owl boxes. Upon arrival I was told that Stock Doves had taken up residence in the Tawny box but that Barn Owls had been seen flying to and from the nearby Barn Owl box. The box itself was covered in tell tale whitewash droppings, a sure sign that there were birds present and inspection revealed that this was indeed the case.
Following the curious pattern of recent discoveries this bird was a previously unringed female and she too was entering her fourth year. As an experienced bird she was already incubating a clutch of five eggs along with a newborn owlet. The male bird was, as is the norm, roosting elsewhere but he is providing his mate with plenty of food which has enabled this large, early brood to be reared. A Wood Mouse lay uneaten inside the box and pellet remains included Short tailed Field Voles along with a Water Vole skull. Early indications so far this year seem to suggest that the birds are laying much earlier than in the past few seasons and that clutch sizes are bigger too.