Depression Sets In

May 6, 2012 at 10:35 pm

Long Tailed Titl

When you have been filming birds for forty years you expect good and bad luck but this week’s events have been the most trying I have ever experienced. Firstly, last year I had three pairs of Long Eared Owls that between them raised at least nine young. This year one of those pairs is missing and another one has already deserted its eggs due to the annual problem of campers in the wood. One pair left and the other night I spent two hours under the camouflage cloth hoping to film the hunting male for by now they should have had half grown young in the old Magpie’s nest.There was no sign of the male so I decided to check the nest and as soon as I saw the pine tree I knew why he was not hunting. Some of the branches had been snapped off by someone climbing the tree to the nest and removing the contents.

As if the Long Eared Owl situation wasn’t bad enough I checked my Tawny Owl site in the hollow tree . The nest was empty and as I saw a Stoat nearby that was obviously the culprit. Hopefully the female Owl will have left the hole before the Stoat predated the two young. It is a very disappointing outcome after many successful years in this hollow tree and it is bound to discourage her from ever using this site again.

At least I still had my Kingfishers that had small young and both birds catching fish for them.On a perfect morning I spent two hours at the site and only saw one adult and it was not carrying any fish. So I took my torch and looked up the tunnel to the nest chamber, finding that it was empty. The reason was in the mud below the hole, where one could see the footprints of a mink. What a sad outcome for the Kingfishers and a diabolical week for me!!The only good news of the week was obtaining the Whimbrel photo which I took in Bowland and was a new pennine bird for me.