After an early spin in the gym, I was out to a house in Keyworth where the householder had told me he had owls in his box. A unlikely setting, a big garden with some wild areas and a square, jackdaw proof box fixed on a high wall. Jackdaws thrive and nest in the chimney pot of the big houses in the area and these Jackdaw proof boxes have a tunnel entrance designed to prevent these intelligent crows carrying sticks into the boxes. They also have a false door and there was a Jackdaw with chicks inside this. Opening the door to have a look in and a design fault is that the door is too big and the male owl shot out as i peeked in. However, I caught the female which was a beautiful well spotted female that I’d ringed a year ago in another box in Keyworth. She had 6 eggs and was soon back in the box. I got out to Sutton Bonington to met Chris Hughes by 10:00; we’d erected several boxes in this area last year and this was the first time we’d checked them. As I approached the first box, a Little Owl shot out to a nearby tree and another sat on the shelf on the box front. There were 4 small chicks inside. The other boxes had been found only by Stock Doves and Jackdaws and we then moved on to Stanford Hall where there had been breeding Barn Owls up to 2 years ago but now it was Jackdaw city with all 3 boxes full of sticks and Jackdaw chicks and even the tree hole we checked had one come out. Very frustrating!! A box at West Leake has had Little Owls inside for the last 2 years and they were there again; the female scarpered as soon as we arrived but there were 4 chicks inside that we will ring in a couple of weeks. On to Kingston
and a box where Barn Owls had laid eggs but then abandoned as the food ran out in the drought at the end of May. The same female was there again together with the male and 5 eggs and lets hope they have better luck this year!! So 8 pairs and 37 eggs so far and a lot more boxes to check!!