Getting bigger

The female is struggling to control the three hatchlings and sit on the remaining eggs at the same time. The oldest is now two weeks old and all three are doing well, with the male bringing back plenty of food each night.

2 hatchlings, 4 eggs

Another egg has hatched, but another egg has also been laid! Very unusual. There are now two hatchlings (both doing well) and four eggs. Three of these have only been laid recently and even if they hatch they are unlikely to survive as the chicks will be so much smaller than the older ones.

First hatchling of 2022

The first barn owl egg has hatched, 33 days after it it was laid, and the hatchling is doing well so far. The next egg should hopefully hatch in a couple of days. The female may even lay another egg too (but that would be unusual). We’ll keep you posted!

The male was out early this evening, an hour before dusk. He now has a growing family to feed so needs to get started early.

A day later and another egg has appeared; the eggs are hatching as more are being laid. Very odd!

One hatchling, four eggs (and five field voles!)

Fish thief!

At last caught on camera: the fish thief! This grey heron has been visiting for a while, leaving big footprints in the mud around the pond, but today’s the first time he’s triggered the trail cam. Does seem to be limping though. Hopefully will get more footage soon with a better view.

A gaggle of geece

Five greylag geece visited the pond this morning; lovely to see but the the appetite of geece can be rather destructive to fragile pond plants. They didn’t stay long, treating the pond rather like a motorway service station, and once they had their fill off they went, heading north.

The first egg of the year

The barn owls haven’t wasted any time this spring and the female has just produced her first egg! She’ll stay in the nest box now as she lays more eggs over the next few days and the male will now do all the hunting for them both, so they’ll both be kept busy.

It’s early in the year still and the weather is unpredictable, but so long as there isn’t prolonged rain or snow covering the ground they should be fine.

Two eggs
Three eggs

Update 24 April 2022. Only three eggs this year (compared to six last year). It might have been the warm weather early this spring that started the female laying earlier than usual and the subsequent cold weather that stopped her after three. Whatever reason, three is what she has, and so far things are going well with the male bringing back plenty of prey. The first egg should hatch this week, fingers crossed.

Four eggs

Update 1 May 2022. 31 days since the first egg was laid and it should have hatched today, but we find the female has laid a fourth egg instead. Very strange behaviour: it might be she was waiting for the weather to warm up, or it was too cold for the first three and she’s started again. We’ll know over the next few days.

A hare and its predators

Filmed over two nights on the same camera at a busy crossroads: a hare, a cat, a fox and a badger.

And here’s a composition of all four to show their relative sizes (the hare is closer to the camera so it looks bigger than it is).

Hare, fox, badger and cat

Hare

We spotted this brown hare a few days ago running at full pelt into the distance but this morning filmed it on the trail cam undisturbed in the early morning sun. It is coming into the field (we hope looking for a nesting site) through the holes in the hedge that the badgers make. Unfortunately badgers and hares don’t mix well together but there’s not way we can let one in but not the other: we’ll have to leave nature to do its thing.

Red Kite

Not a great quality photo but you can clearly see the forked tail

The unmistakable silhouette of a red kite over Tipton’s Croft. They’re not an unusual site around Shrewsbury but we don’t usually see them overhead here. The resident buzzard wasn’t impressed.