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Friday, 26 November 2021

The week that was

 



It’s been a bit busy out over the last week, primarily undertaking a nocturnal watching brief at Battersea Power Station, keeping an eye on the peregrines most nights whilst works took place, plenty of activity and hunting. On the 2nd night they were both out at 11.40p.m hunting from the North East chimney, I could hear a good passage of Redwings going over, suspect that there appearance was connected to the movement, opportune and reaction hunting.

Both stayed on the chimneys for a good 2-3 hours and in this time period, disappeared several times and returned a little while later, very much suspect they were catching and then caching prey.

Also cleared out there prey ledge in preparation for the 2022 breeding season, a good range of prey as you can see, this included.

2 Woodcock
2 Black Tailed Godwit
2 Black Headed Gulls
Various Ring Necked Parakeet
Moorhen
Little Owl
Unidentified Wader


A wide range, much I would suspect taken nocturnally, the unidentified wader has got me going and looking further into this, quite remarkable if it is what I think it is.

Also completed another Kestrel Box ready to go up, hope to get this positioned in the next week or so, got a nice Oak in mind but looking at placing this without using screws. It’s a relatively big box so looking at using Straps etc that will not damage the tree. It’s an awkward one though, as the tree grows, you have to keep adjusting the straps regularly, otherwise they will just snap and you will end up with the box on the floor, if accepted, obviously disastrous.

An even bigger box is the 2nd Barn Owl box to compliment the 1st one, placed a little while back, this should be completed shortly.

If you recall the 1st Barnie box was active pretty early after only a day, however it then got even better, checking on the Trail Cams shows daily roosting in it so looks like full acceptance and at times 3 Barn Owls!

A Little Owl has even visited it, so looks like I will be making a box for these in the future.




                                                                       Little Owl



                                                      Different skyline at Vauxhall nowadays


                                                                The Power Station




                                             Pair of peregrines up there, favoured NE chimney



                             Scaffold recently dropped, straight back roosting on the brickwork 




                                                                 Prey from the ledge





                                                    2 Barnies on box with one arriving



                                                   3 Barn Owls - possibly juveniles



                                                                     Kestrel Box




                                                     Barn Owl box coming along






 

Friday, 12 November 2021

Beckton Sewage Works

 



From a recent visit, plain to see that both Black Tiled Godwit and Redshank numbers are really increasing with the coming of winter.

Black Tailed Godwit numbers always seem to peak pre Christmas and then tail off after, with the coming of the predicted cold spell, it will be interesting to see if we reach the numbers of old around 200.
However we get the cold prediction every winter so we will see.  

A few photos from a rare sunny day.



















Monday, 1 November 2021

Ravens and Rouzels





It’s not often that you can just drive up to somewhere, get out of the car and a pair of Ravens, Common Buzzard and a Ring Ouzel are right in front of you, however this was the case recently.

Ravens were once pretty hard to see around our local area, they are obviously not the rarity locally as they once used to be, Rainham RSPB is now a pretty reliable site for them, they are spreading there range which is great to see.

As above on exiting the car the first bird seen was the male Ring Ouzel, even at distance unmistakable with that white crescent on its chest, always a pleasure to see one. The last one I saw was the bird at Beckton Sewage Works a few autumn’s back.


















As I got a couple of photos at the same time I could hear the cronking of a Raven, initially one on the ground with a Crow for comparison and then 2 in the air mobbing a Common Buzzard.

A bit distant but close enough for the Rouzel to disappear, I watched the 3 of them, up against the Crow and then the Buzzard; you can see just how big a Raven is.

Friday, 29 October 2021

Latest Projects

 



First up was a Barn Owl box made and supplied by my buddy Shaun, gratefully received and taken to its positioning on site, I set about fixing it to a telegraph pole.

After cutting the pole to the required length, 3.8m out of the ground and 1.2 down, I connected the box to it, 4 screw bolts through the box into the pole and then 4 brackets screwed and bolted externally and it’s pretty solid.

It’s going in shortly so looking forward to this, especially how quickly the other Barn Owl pole box was adopted at another site last winter, 10 days if I remember correctly. I very much doubt it will happen again that quickly, as before I will place a Trail Cam to monitor it, however you never know............








The 2nd project was renewing some ply on an oldish box I made around 4 years ago, really exposed to the weather it has taken a battering with the ply flaking badly (crap ply) as you can see. To undertake this work I had the help of Paul.

As I have said before, I am very lucky to have some very good mates around me who help me no end, I also love it as I can boss them about a bit.

The replacement ply was for a successful peregrine box this year which fledged 2 juveniles, ironically they ignored it in 2020 but accepted it this year, they can be fickle and sometime there is no reason it seems.

I use 12mm ply simply down to the fact of lifting the box after, 18mm ply on a big peregrine box is bloody heavy moving it about on your own, however the 12mm ply tends to warp and fray easier.

In this case we put a back and 2 sides over the old stuff and fixed it with 70mm screws, a new timber at the front and fresh substrate and good to go. Peregrines are not house proud and as boxes go, this was one of the messiest ones I have seen for quite a while. I can only think they had no caching spots local, quite a lot of prey was inside the box, hidden away from the prying eyes of the local Corvids.









The rest as they say is up to the peregrines, fingers crossed she likes the renovation.