Monday 18th July: A few more BBOP boxes to clear up and a return to the Greasly Estate where we’d done so well with the new boxes last year.
John Revill joined Gordon and me for the day and the first box was at a farm where we’d never seen a Barn Owl before though the farmer had seen one around. See John’s article about the hazards in servicing this box!!
On to the Greasly Estate and first to a new box, one of the square ones from the Environment Agency. The Farm Manager told us he’d seen Kestrels in the box and there were 3 in the air as we drove in; however there was a Stock Dove on eggs inside and also an old Jackdaw nest, Barn Owl pellets and remains of the Kestrel nest so 4 species have used this box in the last year and three of them have possibly bred.
The next box was one used by Barn Owls last year and there was another late breeding female inside with 2 chicks and 4 eggs; another for an inspection in 6 weeks. Strange happenings continued with the next box; there were 2 adult Barn Owls in the box, one ringed and we were surprised to see that it was a female we’d found on 6 eggs on 13th so probably another desertion! Expecting the other bird to be a male, I was surprised to find another female, one with hardly any spots but her weight, a massive 450 grams indicated a female that could be ready to lay eggs.
The day ended at another farm that had so far been unsuccessful since the boxes had been erected but the farmer almost smiled when he told us he had Barn Owls and there were 4 well grown chicks to ring. So a great ending to the day!