Hi and welcome to my Blog, my name is Paul Riddle and I live in south Leicestershire, UK. Back in August 2007 my quest began to locate as many local Little Owl territories as possible. The driving force was a reported decline in the uk numbers so I thought I would do my bit and conduct a study in my area. After 7 years and countless hours out in the field I have detected over 200 different sites. With a thirst for a greater understanding of the owls a more comprehensive monitoring and nest box programme then commenced. This also now includes monitoring the local and very sparse population of Barn Owls, please pop back occasionally and catch up with the life and times of my owls and any other wildlife that I come across. I hope you enjoy your visit!!!

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Winter owls......?

Here we are the 1st of September and less than four months to Christmas and I am still keeping tabs on breeding owls!
 
At the Barn Owl site where we have the nest box camera the birds are still doing just fine and the hen owl continues to sit tight on her second clutch of the year.  This screen shot below was taken last night and it shows the hen bird rearranging her 7 eggs, although only 6 can be seen! The cock bird continues to keep her fed with plenty of field mice and voles being delivered, look closely in the box and the rodent larder can be seen .
 
It is difficult to say exactly when the first egg will hatch but my estimation is somewhere in between the 6th & 12th of this month. If this is the case and the timing from hatching to leaving the nest is similar to the 4 chicks they had earlier in the year then they won't be fledging until early December! 


Once the eggs hatch the parent owls are going to have their work cut out catching enough prey if all the chicks are going to survive. I am looking forward to that period because the owls drop their normal nocturnal activities and can be seen out hunting in the early evening. If it is anything like when they had their first brood the viewing will be excellent and undoubtedly there will be some photo opportunities.
 
Below is previously unpublished image that I captured of one of the hunting birds earlier in the year, a reminder of good times. 


Here's hoping that the weather keeps mild and there are still plenty of voles for the owls to catch, sadly I fear the worst! 

8 comments:

  1. It's interesting. I remember a post of Richard Pegler's blog earlier this year. It talked about Barn Owls nesting ready to lay in October! Perhaps they have struggled to get their first clutch fledged due to the unprecedented wet season, this summer and are now trying again? Good luck to them and if we get an Indian summer...You never know! I agree though, it makes for great chances for photographs.

    Love the image Paul, great background. I love the black.

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    1. What you say all makes sense to me mate, thanks for your thoughts.

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    1. Thank you Ana, better to come hopefully now I have my new lens?

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  3. Fingers crossed for these Paul. My pal Titus's Barn Owls now have a second clutch of five eggs. They're a couple of weeks behind yours. Fortunately for them there seems to be plenty of food on hand - let's hope we don't get as much precipitation this winter as we did this 'summer' otherwise we'll be up to our necks in snow, and they won't stand much of a chance!!

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    1. Shhhhhhhhhush, don't mention SNOW!!!!!

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  4. Douglas Mcfarlane2 September 2012 at 20:06

    Good point made by Christian in reference to problems with any first clutches, I feel that the problem with this brood might be the imapact of such a wet summer and the number of voles etc availiable. Good Luck to them. Great images Paul

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  5. The male owls seems to be catching plenty at the moment, I don't think they would have gone for a second brood if the food supply was low? Cheers for your comments buddy.

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