Rainy Days

Thursday, May 9th 2019

Wednesday and Thursday have been exceptionally cold, wet and windy for the time of year. Lark and Taurus were grateful of a little extra food; only a handful of hay each as they are extremely hardy, it was just to 'cheer them up' and to get up close to them to check they were okay! As can be seen, they are in fine fettle, just a bit bedraggled!

In the warmth of the field centre, volunteers have been working away to sort and organise the photographs that are used in displays. 

They also identified and recorded species…

...and set out a sales table with second hand Natural History books. 

Team Thursday braved the wet weather as some jobs are 'good to do' in the rain (honest)! Stone for footpaths definitely binds together and compacts down more when it is a little wet.

Several trailer loads were emptied out on a short section of trail close to the centre before being raked out and compacted down with the wacker plate.

After a strenous morning, the rain finally stopped so the team went to check the last few large nest boxes from the Adopt-a-Box Scheme to monitor them. There are a few with breeding owls in (both Barn Owl and Tawny), one with a Kestrel and several with Jackdaws. These Jackdaw chicks were just hatching out in their cosy box!

Members of the Swaledale Ringing Team are in the process of checking around one hundred large boxes and so far the owl breeding season is around three weeks behind where it has been in previous years. Eggs seem to have been laid late and chicks are developing more slowly than in previous years. One theory is that the 'Beast from the East' followed by a hot summer killed off the small mammals and therefore there is little food available for the owls, explaining perhaps why many are being observed locally out hunting in the day time. More owl photographs to come over the next few weeks!


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