Monday, 3 March 2014

LITTER/LITTLE UPDATE

Well birding with my camera for me over the last few days has been a bit sparse it's either been work,work, chasing up emails from my complaint over the fly-tipping I'd last posted about or helping my good friend Stuart erect a few nest boxes on the farm two boxes was a necessity and one was more in hope then anything but more on that in a bit.
Firstly the fly tipping, I am quite sad to say a fine for the company involved looks like a no "go-er" a warning was issued BUT as explained in the last post this would/was a long shot, the main aim was the removal of the rubbish, I wasn't hapy as it seems the only way for companies to learn not to do something is  to hurt them were it hurts the most..their wallets, the company involved had the vast majority of the rubbish removed. Basically the company had been dumping/letting the plastic shrink wrap "fall" over it's fence. These strips of plastic shrink wrap were on average 6 foot in length and about a 1 foot in width and there was loads of the stuff some of it blowing in the tops of the trees. By Friday it looked a lot better with just small bits and bobs laying around I wouldn't say it was 100% better more like 90% better, however a trip to the site on Monday was MUCH better, trust me I shall be keeping an eye on the site very closely.
 So the next semi-interesting part of my time off from work was over at Stu's farm I fancied some Kestrel shots, little had I known I was going to be putting up nest boxes (no-one informed me!)
RULE 1: NEVER GIVE ME A HAMMER AND NAILS
Sadly it seems Stu has in my opinion (and it is just my opinion) has been given some daft advice. He was given a nest box for the Kestrel, I was hoping to see a box not too different to a Little Owl box perhaps just a little bigger, nope he had been given a big rectangle box on a tall post, I don't like these boxes 1)It screams "look at me" and draws attention from unscrupulous types (human kind) and 2) every time I see these boxes they always either a home to Jackdaws or if they have an owl/kestrel in it Corvids are just queueing up on the top for a free dinner...however taking the mantra of "something is better than nothing" it took about an hour to erect and a fair bit of cursing, mostly by me to be fair as we left the field and headed in the "golf-buggy" towards our next erection site (make your own jokes), I closed the gate and swore again, "bloody jackdaw already on it Stuart". I really believe it was a corvid that had caused damage to the kestrel's bill on this site. The second nest box was urgent, a Little Owl tree had fallen over and even though the Little Owl has found a new Ash tree we thought we'd put a box up just in case it fancied a safe shelter, Stu's farm has a big Jackdaw and Crow roost in one his copses and home to a pair of Buzzards.
It was now Stu's turn to scream expletives as I whacked his thumb full force with the hammer (remember rule 1) I tried not to laugh as Stu's a bit tasty with his fists, still I did have a hammer in my hands...fair fight I suppose, luckily Stu had chilled and the box was up in no time and we had a ciggy break, I could hear the Little Owl calling a faint "che" or perhaps "chi" like call it's favourite place was it's old fallen tree using it's old hole as place to launch "worming" attacks so I grabbed my camera yet I couldn't see it, using my camera as a pair of binoculars I was struggling to see it we gave it half an hour but we had one more box to go, the one that is more in hope then anything else, a Barn Owl box going into an old cattle shed currently there isn't a Barn Owl on site but as with all things "nature" you never know what can happen. We have a few more smaller nest boxes to go up, some House Martin "cups" and Swallow "cups" and boxes for Tits, funny thing Stu has an interest in the wildlife on his farm and he always moans his big flock of Yellowhammers are all but gone but some of the advice he's been given is I think is, well sorry but SHIT, I hope I'm wrong but results speak for themselves and despite Stu's best efforts some of the wildlife on his farm has just declined and shown no signs of bouncing back, take his beloved yellowhammers.
It made me wonder if a farmer who hasn't got such an interest in wildlife, if they were to use some of their spare time to erect boxes, try and farm more in a nature friendly way if they don't see improvements or just more wildlife how determined they'd be to carry on trying, especially given some people (including myself) bash farmers and farming for not doing enough...luckily Stu likes his birds and tolerates an idiot like me with a hammer so I know he'll carry on......as for that pesky Little Owl after much time searching the trees I found it, at the entrance of an old rabbit burrow, never knew they'd do that and I'm going to try for an image on my next visit I won't say how long it took me to locate the owl neither.

8 comments:

  1. Well done Douglas at least they seem to have got the message and tidied their act (patch) up...I just hope they keep it that way from now on?
    There may have been some cursing and a little pain involved but you both did a good job in putting up those nest boxes, I'm sure the new tenants will be moving in soon.
    Great shots..the boring Gull and the plain old Moorhen!!...[;o)

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    1. I shall be keeping an eye on the situation, I'm not 100% happy but things have begun to be started.
      I think the LO box will be used, the kestrel box not so sure on and fingers crossed for the barn owl as for the nest cups for the swallows and house martins i didn't think they worked as I never had any luck but I've seen them work, fingers crossed I guess.....glad someone reads the "labels" :o)

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  2. Not the first time I've heard of a Little Owl using a rabbit burrow, Doug. They are closely related to the Burrowing Owl (Athene cunicularia) found in the Americas, and which exclusively live in burrows. Personally, I've never seen it, however - but I'd like to!!!

    Pleased to hear you got a result over the rubbish issue. Well done you!

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    1. Thanks Richard but the lady from the council and my boss played an important part too it helps we have a council who take the issue seriously some councils don't and are only concerned with visible rubbish, if that makes sense.
      I'm not sure if the LO is using the burrow as nesting site or just a place to escape, there is only two trees in the field that were possible nest sites, one fell over and the other it's using so since we were making a lot of noise it might have had to flee to the burrow, there was a fantastic piece on the BBC showing the life of Praire Dogs and it featured Burrowing Owls, I cannot remember the title but it was really fascinating stuff.

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  3. Douglas, a very productive week and you had work as well.

    Councils are a bit odd. They will happily fine me for letting the dogs crap in the woods or for dropping a cigarette but refuse to fine a company for making a serious mess and creating a hazard to wildlife.

    The gull and Moorhen are wonderful as always.

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  4. Cheers Adrian, I was thinking the same about the fines in realtion to dog muck etc, by the way if you're ever walking through woodland owned by the Forest Commision you don't have to pick up after your dog, they'd rather people use a stick to flick it off footpaths then have all those plastic bags littering trees/bushes etc

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  5. I have seen Little Owls use rabbit holes (new and old) on a dozen or so occasions but I haven't yet found one that they have used for breeding purposes. I have one particular LO breeding site where the adults guide the fledged youngsters to a disused burrow and there they stay until they can fly, brilliant to watch. Congrats on the litter saga, we need more folk like you who are prepared to fight back!

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    1. That's great to hear Paul, I'd never thought of a LO using a rabbit holes before and was somewhat baffled why I couldn't find it and looked like a right plum in front of Stu as he hadn't seen a LO before and i was desperate for him to see the bird, I hope this particular bird breeds as I can only see the one at the moment hopefully the nest box will entice another bird in.

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