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  • Pictures as promised


     Buzzard with 3 eggs (taken from the screen in the visitor but by me)

    To watch her live click here

     Female kestrel incubating (taken from the screen in the visitor hut by me)

     Blue tit box (taken from the screen in the visitor hut by me)

     Barn owl pair (taken from the screen in the visitor hut by me)

    We have had some more developments over the last couple of days..

    The barn owls are now sitting on 4 eggs (hurray!), and sadly, so are the kestrels. Yesterday afternoon the female kestrel ate one of her eggs. This could be for a few reasons. It could be a young inexperienced female (throwing out our theory that it’s been the same pair over the last few seasons!) The male maybe wasn’t providing her with enough food, or the egg could simply have been stepped on and broken, and so needed to be removed from the nest. Whatever the reason it has increased the chances of the remaining four chicks (providing they hatch!)

    To keep up to date with all of our cameras and watch the action live, pop in and see us in the visitor hut at Arne!


  • Easter Eggs

    This year it’s all happening on the live cameras!

    The buzzard camera is streaming live on our website, and you can watch it from here. The female does most of the incubation and is currently sitting on 3 eggs, which is the usual number for buzzards. As Michael mentioned in his last blog, the incubation period is 34 days so we are expecting the first egg to hatch around the beginning of May. Because there was a two-day stagger between the eggs being laid, there will also be a two-day stagger between the eggs hatching, so when we get the first chick we’ll have a good idea of when the next will appear and the best time to be watching that webcam!

    The Arne farm kestrels are also on eggs; 5 – the same number as last year. The first of these was spotted on Tuesday 8th April, the second on Thursday 10th April, the third Sunday 13th April, the fourth Monday 14th April and the fifth Wednesday 16th April. Like the buzzards, the kestrel eggs were laid with a two-day stagger (the third egg probably appeared Saturday evening). The incubation period for kestrels is 28-29 days so we can roughly predict that the first kestrel chick will also hatch at the beginning of may!

    We didn’t think anything was going to happen in the blue tit box this year, until Thursday, when we changed channels and suddenly there were six eggs in the nestbox! Brilliant! It seems that she had been laying eggs for just under a week and hiding them from the camera. They are laid at the rate of one a day so the first egg probably dates back to last Saturday. As far as we can see there are 8 eggs in the box at the moment – she may have a few more - and the female seems to be settled sitting on them. As incubation only begins the day before the clutch is complete, we’re expecting blue tit chicks around two weeks from now, again, around the beginning of May.

    And finally... after 3 years of waiting we finally have barn owl eggs!! The first of these was laid on Tuesday, the second on Thursday and the third yesterday so we are confidently expecting another to appear tomorrow! The usual number of eggs for barn owls is 4-6, but they can have up to 10 so it will be interesting to see how many we get! It’s quite a challenge to count these eggs, as unlike our other expectant mums, the female barn owl doesn’t tend to move around a great deal. Incubation begins with the first egg and takes around 30 days so we are expecting the first chick to hatch around the middle of May.

    Pictures of the sitting mums to follow...

    Elsewhere on the reserve, for the last two days we have had an osprey sitting on the perch on Coombe Heath. Spoonbills are still around, together with ever increasing numbers of swallows. Because the weather has been so fine over the last week we have had lots of non-bird sightings reported to us in the hut including reptiles & amphibians: sand lizard – the males are vivid green at the moment – common lizard, grass snake, smooth snake, slow worm, toad and palmate newt. Mammals: fox, rabbit, wood mouse, common seal, and of course the sika deer; and invertebrates: large red damselfly, green tiger beetle, raft spider, brimstone, orange tip, speckled wood, holly blue, peacock, large and small white and small tortoiseshell butterflies. Plenty to come and see!

  • Buzzards - Life in the nest 2014

    Three years ago we set up a camera on a buzzards nest out on the heath and have been waiting patiently ever since for them but it looks like it is third year lucky! All though a pair of buzzards have visited the nest every year and added new material they have never settled before but this year we have 3 eggs. The first of these was laid on Tuesday 4th May with the second appearing on Thursday. It is usual for buzzards to prospect a couple of nests and then pick one and it looks like we have come trumps this time. In the last two years we had a mallard duck take up residence and successfully hatch a clutch of eggs which was a bit of a surprise to say the least.

    The best thing is that we will be streaming the picture on the web so that you can keep up with the action. Bird of prey nests are always amazing to watch and this is the first time one has been filmed in Dorset so we are all very excited about it at Arne.

    Both male and female will incubate the eggs for around 34 days so we are expecting the first one to hatch in the first week of May – I am going to stick my neck out and guess the 4th.

    To watch the action as it happens click here

    Buzzard at Arne - Rob t

    Not only do we have a camera on the buzzards nest but we have got other cameras that can be watched on the big screen in our visitor centre. For the last few years we have been watching a kestrel family that have successful raised 12 chicks in the three years that I have worked here. There hadn’t been a huge amount of activity in the box but a scrape had been made and in the last couple of days eggs have appeared with the female sitting.

    We are also watching a tit box which has had a blue tit in and out of it for a couple of weeks but no eggs as yet. We are hoping to get our barn owl cam back up and working in the next week or so as we have had a pair of roosting barn owls here in the last couple of weeks.

    So if you want to have a look at any of these come up to the reserve and pop in to the visitor centre where we can tell you what is happening.

    I have also set up a forum where you can keep up to date with what’s happening on the buzzards nest and comment on anything that you have watched on the web cam. On the Arne main page I have called it Buzzards – Life in the nest 2014

    Our cameras are provided by Wildlife Windows a Dorset based company that install wildlife camera systems around the country. Their website has lots of video footage and links to other webcams and is well worth checking out

    Also on the subject of birds of prey an Osprey was seen perching in the trees from Coombe heath yesterday. Fingers crossed for more sightings over the next couple of days!