Welcome to our barn owl box! Complete with infra red for night-time viewing, this can be accessed here
As I mentioned yesterday, because our buzzards have all successfully fledged we have changed the live feed to the barn owl box. Those of you who have visited Arne in the past few months may have seen our barn owls from the screen in the visitor hut, but the camera has recently been changed so we now have a much better picture.
by Alex King
The three chicks were all ringed yesterday by a BTO qualified ringer, meaning each now carries a metal ring on its leg with its own unique number stamped into it. This means that if at any point in the future the bird or ring is found, we know where it has come from, and this provides some invaluable data into where the birds are going, their life span etc.
One of our chicks by Alex King
The text under the video screen currently shows information on our buzzard family, but this is in the process of being updated.
We've discovered some interesting facts from going in the box; all of our owls are female, and from some of the owl pellets, we can see that they have been eating both redshank and water rail. Not quite what you'd expect to see!
Pellets by Roger Tidman. From left to right: Little owl, long eared owl, barn owl and red kite
Owls swallow their prey whole, digest the tasty bits and the fur and the bones are coughed up in a surprisingly large pellet. By dissecting one of these pellets you can have a fascinating insight into the diet of the bird. Just be 100% sure that it is an owl pellet you've picked up before you start rummaging!!
As our buzzard chicks have all now successfully fledged and don't seem to want to return to the nest, we are in the process of swapping over our live feed. All being well, we'll have a live streaming of our barn owl box starting tomorrow. A few checks are being made tonight to ensure all is well, and fingers crossed, they'll be up and running by this time tomorrow!
Its been a busy couple of weeks here at Arne.
Our buzzard chicks have now all successfully fledged, and we’ve had occasional sightings of a family of 5 flying round – which may or may not be them! Its brilliant to have had such success, but its always a bit sad to be left looking at the empty nest!
Because of the incredible weather recently bugs and beasties have been taking over the sightings board.
This pair of buff tip moths were mating on the side of the hut one morning last week as I was opening up. They stayed there for most of the day. These moths have such incredible camouflage, perfectly mimicking a broken silver birch twig, although this didn’t hide them too well on the side of a board building!
We’ve also had a lot of cinnabar moth sightings. Usually nocturnal, these will fly in the day if disturbed. The caterpillars of this species are bright orange and black striped and feed on ragwort. Be careful of picking them up as the hairs on their body can be irritating to the skin. Not many other insects feed on ragwort as it contains a lot of toxins, but the cinnabar can store these through to the adult stage. The red colouration of the adult moth is a warning to potential predators of just how distasteful they are!
There have been quite a few reports of jellyfish being washed up on the beach at Shipstal recently. This photo of a barrel jellyfish was taken and kindly send in by Rosemary Burbridge. Barrel jellyfish occur around the southern and western shores of the UK, and have eight ‘arms’ rather than tentacles. They can grow up to 1m in diameter, but despite this huge size they feed on plankton and the sting is not usually powerful enough to harm humans.
Elsewhere on the reserve, family parties of Dartford warbler and woodlark have been seen, and there are still a little group of up to 5 spoonbill being regularly sighted from Coombe Heath. Dragonflies and damselflies are now a common sight including broad bodied chaser, keeled skimmer, black tailed skimmer, downy emerald, 4-spotted chaser, emperor, golden ringed, and common darter dragonflies; and large red, small red, blue tailed, azure, common blue, and emerald damselflies.
Butterfly sightings include red admiral, clouded yellow, meadow brown, large & small skipper, painted lady, and silver studded blue. The area around Shipstal viewpoint is very good for silver studded blues at the moment, and there has been a fairly reliable raft spider sitting on one of the lily pads at Shipstal ponds. The sika deer calves are coming out of hiding, although because of the hot weather sightings recently have been few and far between.