Monday, 13 July 2015

Fingers Crossed For A Positive Outcome

Yesterday morning Huw and I met at Diana and Robert's farm to check some Kestrels. There seems to be a reoccurring theme going on here as when we looked in the box, you can see into it from a distance without having to climb up to it, there was just one Kestrel! It's like the Barn Owls all over again.

The Kestrel chick was very large and well-feathered, as you can see from the pictures below, and so we decided against ringing it as it was a touch too big and we didn't want it to fledge too early. Instead we had a quick look at the wetland, woodland and hedgerows. Surprisingly there was nothing on the wetland at all even though the mud looked very good and held good numbers of invertebrates for birds to feed on; I'll need to keep a close eye on it during the next few weeks and make regular visits.We did have a Banded Demoiselle which was our first record for the site.

 Kestrel (above and below). With hindsight it does look a bit miserable 
and had every reason to do so!

Blackcap, Chiffchaff and Willow Warbler sang from the woodland and a party of Long-tailed Tits moved along the woodland edge. Two Buzzards called to each other and had put up with the usual mobbing from the local Corvids. There was plenty of Tree Sparrow activity around the boxes in the hedgerows and in the yard.

Later in the afternoon after I had got back home Robert phoned me to say that whilst he was scaling some cut grass in his meadow alongside the woodland he found the large Kestrel chick on the floor and he asked me what he should do. I informed Robert that the best thing would be to get the chick back into the box and when he went to do this he found the other chick on the woodland floor in very poor condition. It had obviously fallen, or jumped, from the box the previous evening and had got very wet and cold.

Robert had the suspicion that the chicks had been abandoned by the adults, possibly something had happened to one of both of them. I must admit whilst we were birding there for a couple of hours we didn't see any adult Kestrels. Robert got in touch with Raptor Rescue and a guy came out to collect the chicks. However, when they went up to the box the chick that we had seen in the morning had killed the weaker chick and had started to eat it. When John checked the crop of the surviving chick it was completely empty and hadn't eaten for sometime so Robert's suspicions of them being abandoned was correct.

Anyway John took the chick away and he thought it had a 75% chance of survival. All being well he will return the chick to the farm in a few days to release it back in to the wild. I'll let you know the outcome, but fingers crossed it will be positive!

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