Archive for July, 2016


A busy month with our Constant Effort Site (CES) & Retrapping Adults for Survival (RAS) schemes ramping up.

RAS – 5th

First up for the month was a trip out to Berkshire where Carl, Paul and myself spent the morning in and around Marlow checking a few boxes of various owl species, Little, Tawny and Barn. Our first box, a Tawny, we found a single owlet, we estimated it to be 14 days old, we checked the leg size to make sure before putting a ring on.

Tawny owl pulli

We knew what to expect in the next box to be checked, the owner has a camera mounted in the box and monitors it on the lounge tv. A female with 2 owlets

There were 3 boxes at the next location, Little owl, Barn owl and Kestrel. The Little owl was sitting with 2 chicks, the Kestrel was sitting on 4 eggs, we will return in 14-18 days to check the progress and the Barn owl box was empty.

Little owl having unique numbered ring attached

Little owl having unique numbered ring attached

CES 5 – 18th

Andrew, Carl, Paul and I  managed to work in a session in between  the periods of bad weather June as thrown up. A rather modest 31/9 new/retrap  was the final total of the day with a male Bullfinch the highlight.

Ageing a male Bullfinch

We didn’t quite manage the whole 6 hours with rain once again causing an earlier take down than planned.

RAS – 19th

Berkshire again with Paul and more first round box checking, highlight of the day was a broad of 3 Barn owl pulli aged 35d, 32d & 29d, all old enough to ring. Two more boxes had females sitting tight on very young chicks of only 2 -6 days and possibly eggs, we will return in due course to ring the pulli.

3 ringed Barn owl pulli settled back in box

3 ringed Barn owl pulli settled back in box

RAS – 22nd

A busy, and possible a record breaking day in Berkshire with 20 boxes checked and 10 birds processed; 3 new BO, 3 retrap BO and 2 BO chicks, one of the retraps proved to be a very special bird indeed, a female first ringed 14 years and 11 months ago and sitting on eggs, the oldest known UK Barn owl was 15 years and 3 months, this means our female is probably the oldest know breeding UK Barn owl!  A return visit to the Kestrel box we visited on the 5th revealed 3 Kestrel chicks and 1 unhatched egg, 2 of the chicks were old enough to ring with the third still a few days away.

Breeding female, 14 years 11 months!

A very special Barn owl, a breeding female, 14 years 11 months old!

A new catching net specially designed for the Kestrel boxes was deployed today, alas the adult bird was not in the box.


The long walk back after checking a Kestrel box

The long walk back after checking a Kestrel box


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New catching net for our Kestrel boxes


CES6 – 26th

Andrew, Paul, Andy B and I again managed to dodge bad weather days and complete CES 6 on Sunday, a relatively slow morning was made somewhat busier around 1130 when a mixed flock, mostly Long-tailed tits (19) 31 birds in all, found our nets, this boosted the catch to 73 birds, 12 species, processed for the day. Highlights of the day was a new Great spotted woodpecker and 3 retrap Sedge warblers.

RAS – 30th

Coming to the end of our first checks with just a few boxes left to mop up. Paul will now collate all the data taken so far and work out our second round visits, our initial finding are not as we would hope, it seems the run of continued wet weather we’ve had throughout June is hampering the females reaching breeding weight with some already giving up and moving onto their moult cycle, moving into July we’re all hoping for a big improvement in the weather to enable the adults which have managed to lay eggs or have young already to hunt and continue feeding their young.


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