Monday, 14 May 2007

Local Sightings.

Saturday 12th April afternoon saw good numbers of Swift, Swallow and House Martin over the valley, Bad weather had obviously pushed them down into the valley and at one point I counted at least 75+ House Martins as they bunched into tight groups, at least 20 Swifts and a good number of Swallows joined them. Saturday evening during the break in the weather a Barn Owl was perched roadside near Skirmett, presumably making the most of the dry spell in what had been a very wet day.

Sunday 13th April afternoon again saw a small group of Swifts and House Martins over the cottage during the bad weather but they didn't linger for long and headed North. Sunday evening found the Barn Owl again in the same place during what I could only describe as a downpour, it looked soaked as it perched on the roadside fence post and I put it down to the long spell of wet weather that may well have forced the Owl out to feed.

Monday 14th April evening and the Barn Owl is present again, my earlier thoughts on it being forced out to feed due to hunger has now changed, I watched it quarter the fields for 30 minutes and make 6 successful catches, it only failed on one attempt and there seems to be a good supply of Voles etc about. After each successful catch it disappeared from sight with it's prey only to return minutes later to continue hunting, I now believe it must have young and is busy feeding them, let's hope they have a better year than last. While watching the Barn Owl a Kestrel made a desperate attempt to steal it's prey by chasing it across the fields unsuccessfully, good numbers of Common Whitethroat were singing from the hedgerows along with the song of Yellowhammer and Skylark and for just a second I thought I heard a Cuckoo call, I waited quietly and then again in the distance "Cuckoo Cuckoo", a sound that is not so common in this area nowadays although i did hear one in Turville near the "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" windmill in 2004.

My new record for Red Kites over the house now stands at 15.

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