The day didn’t start well. I went over to Kinoulton for 09:00 to ring some chicks in a garden in the village. It’s a big garden with half of it grown as a wild flower meadow; the box has only been up 6 months and in June, it had a pair of Barn Owls with 5 eggs. However, when arranging to visit over the phone, the householder told me he hadn’t seen any Barn Owl activity for some time and as this was a time when the adults should have been feeding chicks; this didn’t sound good. When I approached the box, a Stock Dove came out so I knew then that the box would be empty and it was, just some pellets and broken egg shell. Possibly the adults had abandoned the box early on and Jackdaws had cleaned out any remaining eggs and chicks. This is always disappointing but something I’ve had to accept over the years. Possibly one of the adults gets killed on the road but it’s impossible to say for sure!!
By 11:00 I was at Stamford Hall where I had a chick to ring in one of our boxes on the land behind the hall. Kate and Ruby were assisting again and we met David Stock who keeps an eye on the wildlife there and also my friend Wendy; the wizard of the spin from the gym and her daughter Sally. I’d visited this box 2 weeks ago to remove a jackdaw nest from under the chicks; there was only one chick surviving so I took the sticks out to give it some room. It was a nice male of good weight that will be flying in 2 weeks.
From here it was on to a box at Keyworth where I’d found a female on 4 eggs at the end of June. I was aware that we now only needed 3 more chicks to reach the 700 for RUBOP so I had high hopes that there would be at least 3 chicks to ring. I opened the box to find 4 birds inside but soon realised that one was the mother so the 3rd chick I ringed was our 700th. Whoopee!!
Photos were taken and the birds returned to the box.
Later in the day, I went out to Owthorpe to check a box that we’d been unable to reach due to it being in the middle of a field of impenetrable oilseed rape. The farmer had told me that he’d seen Barn Owls around the box and a phone call had assured me that the rape was harvested and that I could drive out to the box. There was a good chance that at this late date; any chicks raised in the box will have already fledged but I found 4 nice chicks inside which was a real bonus!!
Running totals are now 73 for the year and 704 all years total!!