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May 18th.

The nest box checks continued  and Neil Pinder was

Zoe with the Tawny Chick

helping out today and he brought young Zoe with him to help brighten the occasion!!

The first stop was a farm near Clifton where we have a couple of boxes. I was half way up the ladder to the first box when an adult Tawny Owl  flew from a hole in the back of the tree. This cavity has had Little Owls in the past but never before a Tawny. There were Jackdaw chicks squeaking in the box so I left them to it and checked the cavity; there was a

And Female Barn Owl

young Tawny inside which was soon ringed and returned. Why doesn’t mother Tawny pop into the box to help herself to a tasty young Jackdaw; surely she can hear them squeaking. Not the brightest!!

Back to the box in the farmyard and we found a female Barn Owl on 4 eggs. A great start to the day.

Next to Gotham Moor; the old female that was here emigrated to another box over the hill 2 years ago and the box has been vacant ever since so we were surprised to see a pair of Barn Owls push past the hole blocker which I hadn’t been able to utilise  in the normal manner. There were 8 eggs in the box; our biggest brood so far!!

Our good fortune continued at the next box where we’ve had regular breeding birds for a number of years. There was a female on 3 eggs so she could still be laying. After this, for the first time this year, rain stopped play.

May 19th.

Neil came out again but without Zoe  and we had a great start to the day as at Thrumpton Hall, we found a female that I’d ringed here in 08 but hadn’t seen since. She’d laid on top of an old Jackdaw nest and there were 5 chicks piled up in a hole in the corner with the smallest at the bottom. Most uncomfortable.

We took them all out, removed the sticks and put them all back where they’ll now revel in their massive new playground.

Back to Gotham and a meeting with the old female

The Old Girl

from Gotham Moor; I’d caught this old girl every year since 05 in 3 different boxes and she was here again with another 5 chicks, the oldest we’ve seen so far.

May 20th.

Chris came round today and we were checking boxes in a good area around Kinoulton, Hickling and Upper Broughton which over the years has been a most

And 5 chicks

productive area.

True to form, we were soon finding Barn Owls, a pair in a barn on 4 eggs and 4 more pairs in tree boxes, all regular boxes but 2 with new females, there seems to be a regular influx of new birds coming in to well used boxes.

We now have 23 nesting pairs and 110 eggs, a good average of 4.7 and it would seem that we’re in for a good year; there seems to be plenty of food around with one box having a cache of 9 voles and a shrew but we won’t count eggs until they’re hatched and we could do with some rain to  make the grass grow and bring on those voles.

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