Prior to Christmas I was asked if my monitored Little Owl numbers were in decline? I had no idea as I'd not invested any time into them for at least 3-4 years. That was the catalyst I needed, so from Jan 1st 2021 I been making an effort to take my daily exercise around or near to my old Little Owl sites. So far my findings are not good, of the 60 or so sites I've visited so far birds have only been seen at approx. 16 locations (I will publish more accurate data at a later date). Of those occupied sites 4 of them are brand new, so my initial instinct's are telling me there is 'a problem'.
In conjunction with checking on the Little Owls I've also been monitoring my known Barn Owl sites where Col Green and I have put up boxes. This is a bit more complex of a task because the locations are nearly all on private land and I've had to make contact/visits (which is difficult at the moment) to reacquaint with the farmers and reaffirm that access is still allowed. So far, every landowner has been pleased to see me and 100% access permission secured.
Prior to me getting started I needed a new 'owling vehicle, so a black Jeep Cherokee was acquired. On top of the initial purchase price it has also cost me extra with new mud tyres and a cam belt replacement that set me back over a grand, but it was worth it, a superb bit of kit that suits my off roading requirements perfectly!
Since my new journey started I have been making every effort to get our early and late 3 - 4 times a week, it will be more often now the lighter mornings & evening are with us. Along the way I have also encountered other species other than Little & Barn owls, in particular there were two different encounters that come to mind with Tawny owls, one near to the village of Kilworth and the other not far from Gilmorton.
Tawny Owl - Kilworth Site
Tawny Owl - Gilmorton Site