With the Kestrels going 4-3 up against the Barn owls yesterday, the ghost like birds needed an equalizer to draw level, and in extra time this evening, just before I was about to leave work, chick number 4 arrived in the Barn owl box. 4-4 !!!!!!
The Kestrel chicks are already a third bigger than when they hatched 3 days ago...its amazing how quickly they grow. The size difference between the oldest and youngest Owl chick is also quite frightening.
The Reserve was SUPER busy today, with hundreds of families all going out to enjoy nature. We had a whole manner goodies brought back to us to identify, from bugs and flowers to bones and even a fox's tail !!!!
Also thank-you to the Mammal Society who came and did an excellent guided walk, where they saw Wood mice, Bank Voles, Sika Deer, Squirrels, a Badger set and lots of Bat pooh.
All in all another great day at Arne, I just hope the weather holds off.
Well not only was I very lucky to be the first to see the 3rd kestrel chick today, I was also very excited to see that the 4th chick wasn't waiting around either as it hatched early morning in front of my eyes! If that wasn't enough, when i switched over to check the barn owls, a 3rd owlet was half in, half out of its egg and after a little bit of help from mum, soon shed the last of its shell. So that leaves one more egg for the kestrels and two more for the owls, but they have already stepped up the hunting as we had some amazing views of the female kestrel feeding her new arrivals.
Elsewhere, hobby, smooth snake, raft spider, emperor dragonfly, green veined white butterfly and roe deer were seen today, showing off Arne's hugely diverse wildlife that can be found on this outstanding reserve. Come down this half term and enjoy the (hopefully) sunny weather and get out and about getting to know the British countryside!
More excitment today as one of the Kestrel eggs had just started hatching as we were leaving to go home for the evening. I would of stayed to watch the whole affair, but it can often take up to 12 hours to become totally un-egged !!!!!
So I am looking forward to turning on the TV screen tomorrow to see our new arrival. There is also an excellent brand new seating area outside the Visitors Centre, that has been built by our volunteers. There is also a buzz around the reserve as a whole host of events are on the horizon for the half term week.
Bird wise, there is still a Marsh Harrier doing the rounds of Poole Harbour, a spoonbill. Look out for Sand Lizards on the sandy paths now as they start digging burrows to lay their eggs. You can often find D shped holes in the ground where test burrows are made.
Well the Nightjar walks began with great success last night with Raft Spider, Hobby and Cuckoo all being seen early on. Then the real action began when at least 5 churring males were heard, sometimes all at once! But that wasn't all as we were treated to; displaying males on the wing and on the perch, including wing claps and females flying alongside topped off the evening, although I think for some the evenings true highlight was Paul, one of the guides for the night, doing his 'hanky dance' to entice the Nightjar closer...the birds wisely stayed away.
Today on the reserve two Red Kite were seen as was the Spoonbill who seemed to have had a few days off from wowing the public. Plenty of Dragonfly are emerging, Broad Bodied Chaser, Four Spotted Chaser, Emperor and various Hawkers were reported from all over the reserve today. The female Great Spotted Woodpecker was showing off midday on the visitor centre feeding station, and the Marsh Tits were flitting around all day much to my delight.
The Barn Owls now have a 2nd chick out and about and we expect the third to hatch around the 30th. The Kestrel's to everyones surprise still are sitting on 5 eggs with not a chick in sight. Although late in the day we thought we could hear a muffled call coming from one of the eggs, so perhaps we shall be greeted by a new life tommorrow morning....
Well the Barn Owls have hatched out their first chick, and we expect the Kestrel to follow suit shortly. The male today brought back quite a large Grass Snake for a snack for his female, which now means we have viewed the Kestrels eating 4 out of 6 of British Reptiles; Slow Worm, Sand Lizard, Common Lizard and now Grass Snake, leaving only Adder and Smooth Snake lefrt to sample!
So back to the rest of the reserve, a beautiful Marsh Tit was back and forth to the Visitor Centre all day showing off to the more 'grubby looking' Coal Tits. I was lucky enough to catch a glimpse of Nuthatch chicks peeping from their hole from the carpark oak. A Smooth Snake, Sand Lizard and Common Lizard were all seen alive and well on the reserve today all doing well to keep out of the reach of the male Kestrel. Woodlark were singing loud and proud today with their beautiful 'declining' song being heard from Combe Heath.
Tonight it's the first Nightjar walk of the year, where we hope not only to spot the amazing birds themselves but also sightings of Barn and Tawny Owl and some of the many bat species that live here at Arne.