Monday, 9 May 2011

What big eyes you have!

I take back what I said about pesky foreign imports. Or at least I redirect the insult from the nest cam to the Japanese made TV. Turns out that nest cam was in perfect working order. Hats off to the import company who took it back, replaced it without question, and probably put our names on the blacklist of numpty luddites not fit to own gadgets. Although we now had a working nest cam in our possession, it was way too late in the nesting process for us to set it up again. Mrs Blue Tit would be none too happy with a ham fisted human lifting the lid on her house, rummaging around in her nest & leaving her with the beady eye of Big Brother watching as she pops out an egg or two or ten.

Dave came up with a cunning plan to turn the bumble house into a weather-proof camera box (don’t worry, no bumble bees were evicted as the box has only ever housed slugs, spiders & the occasional mouse), cobble together some supports from his ever expanding collection of random bits of wood that may come in handy one day (a true Welsh farmer in the making), and erect the contraption on the tree opposite our owl box.

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We’d long ago given up hope of our resident barn owl finding himself a mate this year. He screeched himself hoarse but we’d only ever seen him on his own, so assumed his dulcet tones were not doing it for the females, or worse, that the harsh winter had been too much for all his fellow barn owls. Owl cam proved us wrong. Mrs Barn Owl was in residence. We were even treated to grainy footage of what looked like a spot of owl loving!

Owl cam has no lights and makes no noise, but I’m sure the owls somehow know that they’re being watched. During the day all that can been seen is the sleeping form of huddled up owl, with the occasional wave of the wing or twitch of an eye if the chickens are being particularly shouty about their egg laying. Come nightfall though, Mr Barn Owl starts playing peek-a-boo with the camera….

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… before clambering over Mrs Barn Owl and exiting to bag himself a vole snack, leaving Mrs Barn Owl behind.

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Yesterday Mrs Barn Owl also left the box for a very short while. Owl cam picked up the shadowy form of the treasure she’d been guarding. Yes, the owl loving has borne fruit and we think there are at least two eggs in the box. We’re bemused as to why she has chosen to lay so near the entrance and our hearts sink every time we see Mr Magpie hovering near the box. He has his own family to look after up in the ash tree behind the house and I fear he has plans to feed them an owl egg omelette. Don’t panic, magpie scaring patrol will now be part of the daily rounds and fingers crossed we’ll have news of owlet hatchings to report very soon.

2 comments:

Sue Doran said...

Hope everyone is safe and I'm really looking forward to seeing more pics when they hatch. Mr and Mrs Magpie will hopefully find something else to feast on!

Phil said...

Had a scare yesterday - thought the camera was showing a shadowy long beaked bird in the box eating the eggs. All very upsetting until said bird turned to face the camera and it was Mrs Barn Owl herself. She was probably eating a gift from Mr Barn Owl as when he re-appeared he got a "present" in return from her!