Wednesday April 18th 2012
I managed a sighting of a Long-eared Owlet this week. It was sitting in the nest box in one of the trees in the Laybourne. We have two other Long-eared Owls incubating eggs as we speak. They seem to have taken very well to the cube shaped nest box design we did a few years ago. The Laybourne has turned into a ‘Long-eared Owl Factory’ at present. We also have White-breasted Barn Owlets in there as well.
The Keepers have seen and heard a Southern Horned Owlet in the Main Display. They are due this week in the Breeding Ground too, as well as the Ural Owls top and bottom. We have two pairs of this species.
As I was feeding the Main Display on Friday, I noticed something quite curious; somebody must have been to the duck feeders and got a handful of mixed grain, and deposited little mounds just inside the mesh on horizontal beams in the aviaries. I had to wonder whether this was a misguided attempt to feed the owls or something. I suppose we take it for granted that everybody knows these birds are carnivores. Needless to say these offerings were ignored.
The wildflower meadow has been under a little scrutiny over the past week; there were some quite deep ruts in it, caused by the tractor cutting the hay last autumn. Millie and I were tasked with sorting this little problem out this week. We managed to borrow the Polaris 4 wheel drive vehicle, and located a large mound of topsoil near the top greenhouse. We must have moved at least half a ton of topsoil to fill these ruts in. Afterwards we sprinkled some wildflower seeds on the bare soil, including Meadowsweet, Red Campion, Ox Eye Daisy, as well as a colourful mix of cornfield annuals. Hopefully this will improve the view of the lower part of this meadow for a while.
See you next week
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