Thursday, April 26, 2007

Hoots Mon !!

On 12th April after returning from our Easter Weymouth break I joined local friend and birder Paul Tabor to inspect an owl box that Paul had erected in a small oak woods on the outskirts of my home town Maesteg which Paul had confirmed held 4 Tawny Owl eggs on an earlier visit.
A firm tap on the tree flushed the parent bird from the box and Paul being younger and considerably fitter than myself climbed the tree.The only way of inspecting the contents of the box was to poke my digital camera through the opening and hope for the best.
Once back on terra-firma we checked the screen and were thrilled to see 3 very healthy chicks snuggled contently at the bottom of the box,although it was somewhat disappointing that all 4 eggs had not produced young.
I decided to make a return visit to the site this evening after work 26th April and after briefly speaking to Paul on the mobile he confirmed that a visit last Sunday morning by himself confirmed that the 3 youngsters were doing fine and had grown so much in the last 11/2-2 weeks that the parent bird had been forced to vacate the box.
I set myself up on some higher ground a safe distance away and the 3 younsters were visible peering over the lip of the opening in the box and all three appeared very healthy,the parent bird was probably keeping a close eye on me from a hidden perch!
Paul doesn't venture far for his birding and tends to stick to the "valley" where over the years he has put up dozens of next boxes with great success. I checked another 7-8 small boxes in the wood and although some were empty others held 2 Blue Tits and a Great Tit,Paul tells me that another 2 boxes in the same wood hold Nuthatches,with the continuing spell of early warm,dry weather and with seemingly plenty of food about it looks like it could be a bumper year for many of our species.