After a great month in Canada and Alaska, I arrived home refreshed and ready to start ringing all the chicks; some of these were approaching 6-7 weeks old so I had to get round fast before they fledged.
First; some good news is that the 3 Little Owl chicks rescued from the building site at East Bridgford all fledged and have been seen flying around the nearby orchard.
Sunday 10th July: A couple of years ago, I sent some nest box plans to a couple at Fiskerton, they built a box and soon had a pair of Barn Owls which bred last year then failed. They were there again this year and observations of food carrying indicated that there were growing chicks inside the box.
It was a nice morning out for the family so Kate, Lisa and young Ruby came as well. An adult owl flew from a tree as we approached, Mum on guard and there were 3 big chicks in the box which I soon processed and ringed.
Photos were taken and Ruby was shown how to hold a Barn Owl, ending up with one in each hand.
On the way home, we popped into a farm at Stragglethorpe and ringed another 3 chicks!
Monday 11th July: A good day to start the round of chick ringing; Gordon came to help and we started in the usual place, a box 5 minutes from my house in Plumtree. 3 seems to be the favourite number this year and we had another 3 here, all nicely marked females.
We then had 2 chicks at Tollerton Hall and then moved on to the box that over the years had consistently been our most successful having produced 31 chicks since 2005. In the early inspection in May, there’d been a new female on 4 eggs and I opened the door confident that it would be full of well grown chicks!! It was empty and the 4 eggs were still there. These things happen and there’s no explanation, it’s disappointing but you have to live with it.
The next box, one owned by the Notts Wildlife Trust had just a single male chick, ready to fly and then on to a box where breeding had been attempted in the past but had never fledged any chicks. It seems that persistence pays off and I ringed 4 downy chicks, a bit younger than most of the others but all fat and well.
There was another sad failure at Cotgrave Golf Course then on to a farm at Normanton on the Wolds. This is a box that we’d moved to a more prominent position and this paid off with a nice brood of 5, 2 males and 3 females. The Farmer’s wife and son came out to see the chicks and they were delighted with them!!