Sunday 8th May, our first outing to check some boxes to see what was happening with the local owls. The freezing winter was bound to have an effect and I’d had reports of quite a few birds that had succumbed to the freezing conditions, most of them 1st winter birds so hopefully most of the more experienced adults have survived.

Clive James, our founding member came round to help and off we set in brilliant sunshine.

We hit the jackpot with the 2nd box we looked at, a male and female with 5 eggs.

The male I’d ringed as a chick in June 05 just down the road at Tollerton and the female I’d ringed in this same box 2 years ago when she’d raised 3 chicks. Last year, I found her in a nearby box but she failed to hatch her eggs, probably due to a food shortage. With both birds being a good age, they will hopefully bring off some more chicks this year.

Clive with the first owl

There was disappointment at the next box when a pair that had raised chicks here for the past two years were absent and the box showed no recent signs of use. However, there are other boxes in the nearby parkland so hopefully, they’ll be in there but as the gates were locked, we’ll leave to later in the week.

The next box, at Gamston is our best, having raised 38 chicks  since 03 though surprisingly with different females. This pattern continued as there was an unringed female in the box on 4 eggs.

Late last year, I’d ringed 2 full grown chicks in a box owned by the Notts Wildlife Trust at Lady Bay. I was keen to see if the adults were still around so  we went there next. Sure enough, both adults were at home with 2 eggs so hopefully, she’ll lay more. The female was unringed but the male was a bird I’d ringed as a chick at Tollerton in 07. It’s great when you find some of your chicks rearing chicks of their own.

a brilliant first day; three breeding pairs and 11 eggs can’t be bad!

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