Friday, July 28, 2017

Boxed In

Friday, and once again the week’s weather dictated a lull in ringing, birding or photography. July will surely end as one of the worst ever. 

The rain held off long enough for Andy and I to meet up at Gulf Lane on Thursday to cut a net ride for the continuation of our Linnet project. While doing so we noted a flock of 40 Linnets and several Tree Sparrows using the crop of bird seed mix. Such a relatively high number of Linnets in a flock situation in July suggests that many Linnets have finished their breeding season and that numbers will climb quickly in the coming weeks. We will set a few nets just soon as the weather reverts to summer or at least a settled autumn feel. 

Linnet

We called at another farm where the owners regularly see Barn Owls and now wish to attract the species to breed. We looked around the many buildings and suggested a couple of spots where suitable boxes might be erected, using plans and ideas found on www.barnowltrust.org.uk

The Barn Owl Trust website is a useful and informative for farmers and landowners looking to attract owls onto their property. There is lots of practical advice on nest boxes plus guidance on how and where to locate a box for best results. For the lazy or like me, the simply unskilled at woodworking, they sell nest boxes ready assembled and suitable for Barn Owl, Tawny Owl or Little Owl. 

Barn Owl nestbox

In a couple weeks we’ll call back at the farm and see how their work is progressing. Fingers crossed for a suitable outcome for owls, famers and ringers alike. 

Barn Owl

I called at Conder Green where the wind whipped across the pool and many Lapwings sheltered on the grassy island. I had a good count of returning Black-tailed Godwits - 46 to add to the 140 Lapwing, 40 Curlew and 30 Redshank, but no show from either Greenshank or Common Sandpiper. In the choppy conditions I noted just a single Little Grebe but expect more were sheltered in the lee of the islands. Three Pied Wagtails and 2 Stock Dove around the margins, plus 2 Little Egret partially hidden from sight. 

There was a Tufted Duck with five fluffy youngsters and I think this was a different female to the one noted here a week earlier with just four young. The family swam across the water to avoid marauding Carrion Crows looking for a meal. 

Tufted Duck
A Kingfisher put in a brief appearance low down in the channels and out of the wind. Sand Martins rather liked the conditions as 40 or more plus a few Swallows flew continuously up, down and around the hawthorn hedgerow to pick off the many highly visible flying midges. 

Saturday morning looks slightly better and I’m sure I will be out somewhere or other bins and camera at the ready. Read about it here soon.

Linking today to Stewart's World Bird WednesdayAnni's Birding  and Eileen's Saturday Blog.



27 comments:

Linda said...

Beautiful, Phil! Thank you so much for sharing.

Gordon said...

Morning Phil, its good to hear there are one or two sympathetic farmers about, encouraged along by the good work of people like your self.
Have a good weekend , Gordon.

bettyl-NZ said...

It's good to know that people like you are doing so much to keep track of the local birds. The owl houses are a great idea, especially if you can't put them together yourself. I enjoy your photos when I visit.

eileeninmd said...

Hello Phil, The Linnet is a beautiful bird. I wish there was a similar Barn Owl project here for our farmers. Love the Tufted Ducks, the Barn Owl is beautiful. Great photos! Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Happy Saturday, enjoy your weekend!

Jean @sonotorganized.com said...

Enjoyed seeing the wonderful photos of all the birds and learning a bit more about the owl project. We hear owls in these parts once in a while but I've never seen one outside of at the nature center. I do think I liked the photo of the duck with her ducklings best of all.

A Colorful World said...

Phil...what a wonderful friend you are to all of the birds, working hard for them! Wonderful photos. You are a hero in the bird world, you and your comrades.

Rajesh said...

Wonderful shot of the barn owl.

Stewart M said...

I did not pick the best time to be in the UK did I? Although we did not get rained off too often, a heavy sea mist / fog rather curtailed viewing at Bempton Cliffs - although I did (very briefly) see a Barn Owl there.

Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

♥ Anni ♥ said...

Awwww, adorable ducklings! Fantastic photo Phil...brings out the 'mother' in me I guess. Babies. Y'know, instinct!!
So, I'm assuming that the farmers try to attract barn owls for the purpose of rodent populations...maybe? Just a guess. Of course there are always the 'bird lovers' too. But the logic of rodent populations and owls just seems logical.

Too bad the weather in July was nasty. Here, our July was EXTREME heat and no-one wants to be out birding. The birds are kinda scarce too for the lack of finding a cool spot to feed/perch.

Thanks so much for sharing this bit of your life of birding with wonderful narration and linking in this week at I'd Rather B Birdin'.

Breathtaking said...

Hello Phil!:) Lovely Linnet photo, not as red breasted as the one I posted a few posts ago, but that may be because it is not in breeding plumage! You certainly saw a lot of them, and it is brilliant that farmers are helping to keep the numbers up by sowing these seed crops, and now by being encouraged by you and other like minded bird lovers to put up Owl boxes. Good job!:)

Vandana Sharma said...

The duck and her ducklings are so cute.

June Caedmon said...

Sorry you're having so much rain. I wish you could send it our way, we are too dry here in Texas, having an unusually hot summer. Enjoyed your images today, Phil. Always enjoy the owls. Here's to a more successful week ahead.

Prunella Pepperpot said...

The linnet is a gorgeous bird. I'll have to have a look at the owl website. Hoping for some drier days for you. It has been pretty miserable. Have a great week ahead :)

Patrycja P. said...

Barn Owls are wonderful birds. It's good that people want to help them. Greetings!

David Gascoigne said...

Wow, you guys sure have been having a run of crappy weather. You might be interested to hear, Phil, that Barn Owl nest boxes on Nantucket, just off the Massachusetts mainland, have caused such a resurgence in Barn Owls that they are verging on common. The greatest success story that I am familiar with is the introduction of Barn Owls to palm oil plantations in Asia for rodent control. The owls thrive and the cost, both financial and environmental, is reduced substantially.

Stuart Price said...

We had a heatwave here in July, I'd prefer a cool NW summer any day!

Robert Nicolaescu said...

Beautiful post.

Joyful said...

Such beautiful photos of the Linnet and owl. Sorry to hear about your bad weather. That was my weather from Fall through Winter and until around late May. Now it's hotter than blazes and wildfires abound.

Fun60 said...

Despite the weather you seem to have achieved much this week.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

It's happy news when the farmers are cooperating with you and want to encourage birds. i'm sure having owls is a win-win for them and you. That linnet picture is absolutely charming... perfect. Sweet tufted family -- hope all the babies survive.

NC Sue said...

Beautiful bird photography as always!
Thanks for linking up at http://image-in-ing.blogspot.com/2017/07/pm-paddle-on-lake.html

Findlay Wilde said...

We have some great land owners round here putting up barn owl boxes and allowing access.

Judee Algazi said...

We have owls in my area and I can often hear them but have yet to see one. My neighbors have seen them, so I'll have to keep looking

Mary Cromer said...

I think that I could have Bill build 10 of those great little Owl nest boxes, and we would only get squirrel and snakes...I promise we have had several nest boxes for things other than small songbirds, and they never get used. Squirrels gnaw on the entrances so small birds are at risk, and I have found two snakes in two nest boxes over the years. Oh to see a Barn Owl though~

Anne (cornucopia) said...

Wonderful photos. I especially like the owl.

Chris Rohrer said...

I wonder if that would work here. But like you, I am not so good with the wood working part of the project. We have a secretive and decent sized population of Barn Owls down here in Southern Arizona. The only problem is feral cats. Most of the Barn Owls breed under the highway bridges and of course, inside abandoned buildings.

Lowcarb team member said...

Doesn't the Linnet have marvellous colour. Always nice to see a Barn Owl and the duck family is so cute ...

All the best Jan

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