02 July 2023
Some more progress . . . . and a scary start to this morning!
Since my last update there has been some more positive developments and the pair seem to be moving towards nesting. They have been mating fairly regularly, but the male is only intermittently trying to entice her into the nest box. The female does appear to be more aware of him however and although she is still not particularly vocal, she seems to be following his movements more closely. Last year, the female was already on eggs in the first week in June – so this season is already way later, but hopefully we are now heading in the right direction. Just when the pair seem to be ‘synching’ however we had a major scare this morning. At 06:25 we heard the male calling from the Tea Garden, . . . plus the loud “CHIP . . . CHIP” calls of a Black Sparrowhawk. Interestingly, I have noticed that this male doesn’t use the loud, stressed “HOOOOOO!!!!’ calls in these situations, but rather his typical “hoo . . . hooo” calls – but I knew there was a problem! It was still too dark to see what was going on, but I climbed out onto the roof – and promptly slipped on the thick layer of frost, coming down hard on my left hand . . . and butt! The noise was enough to scare off the sparrowhawk, and when I checked on the owls later, both looked fine – so all good for now!
By Geoff Lockwood