Saturday, 25 September 2010

Fingers Crossed For a New "Mum"

It's been confirmed that there is no sign of the female Barn Owl, so it appears Dad raised the five himself (certainly from late May, when the female was last seen). What happened to her is unknown, although the pile of soft, white feathers I remember finding under the power lines around that time seems too much of a coincidence now.

I'm keeping everything crossed that another female comes in for next year. Given the hunting is excellent in the immediate area, I think the chances are good. A lot depends on the success of other nests in area. Incidentally, I spotted a dead Owl on the A281 near Lower Beeding recently, I didn't have time to stop and check it for a ring - by the time I'd made the return journey the carcass had been carried off (probably by a fox or similar). We seem to have had winds from the North and West of late, so it is possible it was one of the Horsham owlets.

If we are not lucky enough to be blessed with the presence of a pair at the Horsham site, I'll need some more Barn Owls to follow next year - I've fallen in love with these birds and I'm not prepared to go without keeping a record of them! Obviously there may not be the advantage of a public footpath at another site, in which case a Schedule 1 licence would be needed for photography; I'm half expecting to need to apply for one for the Kestrels given their drop in numbers. While I have Woods Mill in mind, there are a couple of empty Owl boxes that I'm keeping tabs on (it would probably be easier to talk to the wardens, but I'm never there before 5pm!) and of late the larger box has had signs of droppings nearby - that's enough to get me excited. I'll be keeping an eye on this over the winter.

November through to March is going to be so depressing, I can't wait for the clocks to go forward - and it's still a month until they go back!

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