Sunday, 28 February 2016

Little Owl Nestbox

Regular readers of the blog will know that back in 2013 we (Sorby Breck Ringing Group) found a Little Owl pair that was breeding at Linacre (click on Little Owl labels for details). We managed to ring the female bird and one juvenile bird. Unfortunately, the birds moved sites in 2014 and 2015, so we weren't able to ring any more birds. With this in mind I got a Little Owl nest box for Christmas 2015, and eventually managed to get it up today, with a lot of help from Jayne (thanks!). It's in the same tree that the birds used in 2013, so I'm keeping everything crossed, that they, or another pair, find the box and use it. Obviously, if they do, I'll record the nesting attempt for the BTO's Nest Record Scheme, hopefully, ring any chicks and update the blog. Here's a picture of the box in place.

Little Owl box

After putting up this nestbox, Jayne and I, went round and checked the other "owl boxes" to ensure there weren't any Grey Squirrels in them. We didn't find any live squirrels, just 1 dead one, and lots of dried leaves. These were all cleared out, to hopefully make room for the Mandarin Ducks.

After that we had a quick walk around all 3 reservoirs in cold, but sunny conditions. Birds noted were as follows: Shag (2 juveniles still on the middle reservoir), Cormorant (2 in breeding plumage), Mallard (40), Black-headed Gull (105 - a great count, my highest of the winter by far), Great Crested Grebe (5, including 4 in breeding plumage, another great count), Little Grebe (1 heard on the middle reservoir), Grey Wagtail (2 on the river below the bottom reservoir), Coot (9), Moorhen (5), Tufted Duck (22), Mandarin Duck (6 on the middle reservoir) and Canada Goose (3 on the top reservoir). Several birds, including Song Thrush, Wren and Chaffinch, were singing in the settled conditions, and Great-spotted Woodpeckers were heard drumming (no Lessers yet).

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