Spawning roach

The roach are spawning at last as the weather finally warms up. They’ve been getting all splashy in a clump of water crowfoot and have been at it all day.

Normally rather shy, today the roach are behaving like a pod of dolphins.


The first barn owl egg has hatched, just an hour or two ago. The mother is taking great care of the tiny pink owlet, chittering reassuringly to it as it chitters back. The other eggs should hatch one by one over the next few days.

The weather forecast is good and the male is doing his hunting duty. He is perhaps wisely staying away from the messy birthing business today.

A glimpse of a little newborn hootlet.

One week to go

The two barn owls are doing well, the female spending all her time sitting on her clutch of six eggs and the male hunting for her during the night.

They’ve been sitting out the storm together for the past twenty four hours and will be getting hungry so hopefully the rain will ease off tonight to allow the male to do his duty.

The first egg is due to hatch on 28 May!

The male (in the centre) has a good hiss at something that lands on the nest box.

6 eggs

A surprise extra egg arrived last night, taking the clutch to 6 (one more than we had last year) and possibly a sign that the food supply is good at the moment. However, it does mean more mouths to feed when they hatch (though they won’t all hatch and those that do won’t all survive good food supply or not, such is nature).

Swan Lake

A juvenile mute swan arrived today, quite bold and hungry, currently hoovering up the water crowfoot (which is a shame as it’s just started to flower). Lovely addition to the pond though.

Still a little brown = a juvenile
10pm. Looks like he’s staying the night.

5 eggs

Every hour or so the female gets up, turns around and moves back, has a good stretch then checks on her eggs before carefully sitting back down on them. Today she reveals a fifth addition to the clutch.

The male is spending most days roosting in the other nest box (about three hundred feet away) but usually flies over and joins her at some point during the day. He does tend to sit right down in the middle of the nest box taking up all the space: not sure she appreciates this!

Quiet family afternoon in

The male joined the female earlier today and they settled down for a quiet afternoon together. It wasn’t all rest for the female though: her flight feathers needed some maintenance, the male needed to be preened (whether he liked it or not) and of course the eggs needed checking. Only then could she have a nap.

Good hunting

Now the female is sitting on her eggs the male has to do all the hunting, but it’s going well so far (much better than last year). Here he is returning with a big fat field mouse.