27 June 2020
So I decided to upgrade my mitre saw from a Bosch to a brilliant Makita. Really happy with this particular model. There was nothing wrong with my Bosch its just that I needed a more powerful saw to cut larger size wood and on a daily basis. The Bosch was more for DIY use as opposed to a professional saw. This Makita model is a firm favourite of professional carpenters alike. A small saw and it doesn't take up much room in my garage although I will buy a saw stand for it eventually. A stand with wheels in order to move it about.
21 June 2020
My dear friend Brenda Powell contacted me a few weeks ago to tell me how excited she was to have a pair of Redstarts nesting in the side of her house. She was even more excited to tell me she has an Owl roosting in her car port.
I did say to Brenda over the phone if she was absolutely sure it was an Owl. She said well come and see for yourself. So as you can see from the images below Brenda was spot on yes there is definitely an owl roosting because the car was covered in Owl poo and pellets. I did fit a nest box just above the car on the roof rafter.
16 June 2020
Two years ago I fitted a Tawny/Barn Owl nest box to the side of an out building at a friends house in a nearby village. We fitted the nest box to the end of a building they use as a cattery. It is located just at the edge of a village adjacent to a canal and open countryside. Ample areas for Owls to hunt and sustain a family.
So I was contacted by my friend Keli who had sent me an audio recording of something inside the nest box. Keli discovered the sound whilst out walking her dog. What Keli did not realise was that inside the nest box was 4 Barn Owl chicks. I arranged with Keli to visit the next morning and it was then she became so excited when I delivered the good news to her. Not many people can boast about having a family of Barn Owls in their garden.
14 June 2020
As reported previously I have been fortunate enough to be given permission to use a local landowners land. Ross and Elizabeth are the owners of a huge vast amount of land set in the Usk valley in south east Wales. I am extremely lucky to have permission because there are 12 barns that are not being used and would be perfect to attract Barn Owls. My aim is to go from 3 pairs of Barn Owls to double figures which is definitely achievable over time. I have already got 3 pairs with chicks this year so 10 pairs is definitely doable.
What was agreed with Ross was to erect nest boxes within the estate gardens. As you can imagine the gardens a huge with hundreds of mature oak beech and other species of tree. It was also agreed that all nest boxes erect must be of naterual wood and wood that had been felled on Llanover estate land. So as you can see in the images below we have 3 tit boxes made out of solid welsh oak and 3 tit boxes made out of red cedar all from felled Llanover estate land.
13 June 2020
My hedgehog nest boxes seem to be very popular at the moment for some strange reason. The only problem with hedgehog nest boxes is they take ages to make. It`s simply not a 5 minute job. They are designed for hopefully a pair of hedgehogs to raise a family of little hoglets. They are made to last with several coats of paint to finish them off and to be totally waterproof.
11 June 2020
Last years breeding season was a season I will never forget. After the final count I had 36 Pairs of Pied Flycatchers raising a clutch. The magic thing was every clutch was raised not one was predated which is pretty amazing considering. It was so amazing to get 36 Pairs baring in mind 2018 season was a disaster with only 16 Pairs raising a clutch. The year 2018 was a bad year weather wise due to the infamous Beast from the East which started at the end of December and lasted through till late April. Unfortunately the migrant birds returning from Africa came up against these North Easterly winds which also affected France and Spain and lots of birds perished or returned back to southern Spain or Africa.
So how did breeding season 2020 go, well lets just say it was another magical year with 38 Pairs of Pied Flycatchers raising clutches with the weather being very favourable for a change. I honestly did not think I would surpass 36 but I did although the bad news was no Redstarts again this year. Im not sure what is happening with the Redstarts because I did manage to get 6 Pairs in 2017 which is the highest number of Pairs I have ever reached. Closing this post on a positive note I have 2 Pairs of Barn Owls with chicks, one with 6 chicks and another with 4 chicks. Hopefully I shall be ringing the two pairs thanks to my good friend Steve Roberts.
10 June 2020
Due to the pandemic most of us have been isolating at home. I was classed as a vulnerable person because of the steroids I was taking. So it has been a case of shutting my self off for the time being and until my medication ends. So I have plenty of timber to make things so I made a couple of Tawny owl nest boxes , Swift boxes, Hedgehog box and a few bat boxes. I also had a request from a neighbour to make a bird table that could fit onto a fence. so i had lots of hardwood offcuts spare and made the bird table out of hardwood.
9 June 2020
I had a lovely gentleman contact me from a town just down the road from my village. The town in Question is a plave called Blaenavon. Recently it has become the first town in Wales to become a Swift friendly town. I was asked by Blaenavon Town Council to construct 12 Swift boxes for them to erect around the town centre. Because it is a reasonably old town there are lots of old buildings which has been been a safe haven for Swifts and bats for decades. Unfortunately council members had noticed a dramatic decline in Swift numbers and basically wanted to try and help the species out by providing nest boxes for them. Fingers crossed they will start using these nest boxes and raise young that will also return each year.
7 June 2020
Last year I found a Fox den right in the middle of one of my nest box sites. One afternoon I was monitoring and came across 6 little fox cubs which I managed to get on film. The cubs were similar in size to the ones below and exactly a year to the day.
Forward a year and the 2020 pack were playing out in the sunshine with no care in the world. It was another amazing experience to be up and close to this beautiful animal. Just hope that these little guys make it to adulthood.
4 June 2020
I am extremely careful when checking on my Barn Owl nest boxes. During the egg stage the female is always sat incubating which means when checking she is disturbed and flys off, This is when I am careful to limit the time. I hate disturbing the female off her eggs but I do it late in the day in order for her to immediately return to her clutch.
Obviously this is done to allow me to see what stage this particular clutch is at in order to return at a later date to ring the chicks. Hopefully we will have 6 chicks to ring when we do get the chance to return. Great clutch size.
2 July 2020
The House Martin is well known for its glossy blue top and pure white underparts. On close inspection, it's possible to see the house martin's short legs and small feet are covered in white feathers. Being very quick in the air, you'll find the house martin flits quickly around in the air. The house martin's song is a persistent twitter that continues all through the summer months in the UK. During winter, the house martin spends its time in warmer African climates.
House Martins feed primarily 'on the wing' i.e. while during flight, and the main diet is insects, including flied, beetles and aphids.
Nests are made primarily of mud. In fact, it's possible to get house martins into the garden by creating a muddy patch from which it can extract mud for building its nest. For the most part, house martin nests can be found under the eaves of buildings and houses.
slightly later than other birds in April and May, and the incubation period for eggs last between 13 - 19 days. House martin eggs are typically non-glossy, smooth and white. You'll notice both parents contribute towards feeding the young.
House Martins are widespread and can be seen in the UK between April and September. They traditional enjoy feeding around wetlands, but can be found nesting under the eaves of houses and in and around towns and villages.