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Friday 28 January 2022

Recent stuff and Pinkies


January is always busy on the peregrine front, a number of boxes/trays to clean out and the odd repair, here and there, as yet another breeding season is nearly on us. Peregrines are messy beasts and not house proud and I always like to replace/turn the substrate over, in case any parasites are lurking in the substrate.

I have also made another Little Owl box, this will be going up on Sunday, hopefully it will not be taken over by the Squirrels. I have another couple of these Little Owl boxes, on one, it’s been in situ since early last year.3 times I have turfed out squirrel nests, each time I have done it they have stuffed it full again using it as a Drey the little buggers. The mindset is that eventually they will come to realise it’s not a good place.

On another note recently, some good friends very kindly took down a Barnie box that I had on the side of a tree, a Barnie had been in it (pellet at the bottom) however I had seen Squirrels entering it, so time to relocate it.

Take a look at what came out, quite amazing.

I also recently got lucky and found a couple of Pink footed Geese locally, initially on Damyns Hall Aerodrome before relocating to Ingrebourne Valley and from there Rainham RSPB. Hopefully they will remain in the area for a while so everyone can catch up with them.

The record is only the 2nd record for the Valley and more or less 12 years after the first, which was February 10th 2010.

Friday 14 January 2022

Parliament and Boxes


The newish pair at Parliament are looking good for breeding, fingers crossed, if you recall the resident Tiercel was found dead last summer in Whitehall from collision.

A new Tiercel soon bonded with the Falcon and replaced him, hopefully it may be what is needed to aid successful breeding, however it could just be down to the Falcon alone and a fertility issue has surfaced with her age, we will see.

The last successful breeding was in 2018 in the nest box on Victoria Tower, previous to this they bred successfully in the nest box in 2016 and 2017, in each year 3 juveniles fledged.

Previous to this they bred on Keybridge House, Vauxhall (now demolished) from 2008 - 2015 fledging 14 juveniles, successful in 4 breeding seasons but also failing in 4.

Time will tell and the end of this month/February, pair bonding – display and copulation will begin hopefully, watch this space.......

Kestrel Box

On Sunday Jan 9th myself and Paul installed a Kestrel Box on a local Oak Tree, been looking into ways of installing it on the tree without using screws.

I decided on a high strength rope to take the weight of the box and then 4 bungee cords, 2 top and 2 bottom to keep it tight to the tree. The thinking is, that as the tree grows, the cords will stretch with it, will have to check it annually but hopefully it should work.

Kestrels are in the area and I have stuck a cam on it to track any activity.

Barn Owl Box No 2

Following on from the Barnie box fitted in late December, it took them 2 nights to locate it, since then constant activity on the Cam covering it so hopefully a good sign for this year.

The cam also picked up someone passing, just can’t resist a selfie.


Wednesday 5 January 2022

Beckton 2022


The traditional New Year’s Day morning visit for 2022 was Beckton Sewage Works, a very nice morning both weather and birding wise with a few good birds seen.

I finished Beckton 2021 on 101 species, not a bad count for the annual year list and hopefully I can top this for 2022.

To say the weather on New Year’s day was a bit barmy is an understatement, at one point I had 15 degrees showing, it reflected on the wildlife as well, the Kestrel pair were copulating, Great Spotted Woodpeckers were drumming and Honey and White Tailed Bumble Bee’s were out.

It was an enjoyable morning and I got the list off to a good start with 54 species, had thought I had 55 but double counted on one, a couple of notable ‘hard to get’ for the site also in the shape of Avocet, Brambling and Woodcock.

The Woodcock was very jammy and seen overhead driving in at dawn, presumably looking for somewhere to roost for the day.

After observing the Kestrels mating, easiest the earliest I have seen this, I watched the female hunting briefly, she picked off 3 earthworms on the grass, before returning to sit near the box on the pipe.

Both Common Buzzards were present and as ever, these are a bugger to get close too, even in a car, however I did get a few distant photos in decent light.

All in all, a good start to the year list.