Saturday 20th August 2011
I have been away for a week, and already we are nearing the end of August. There isn’t a great deal of news on the owl side of things, other than that 14 owls have departed to pastures new, amongst which; our old breeding pairs of Ashy-faced Owls and White-faced Owls as well as some of this year’s youngsters.
Our breeding male Northern Hawk Owl is in the hospital again, this time with a case of conjunctivitis. He is receiving treatment in the form of ointment twice daily, as well as a course of antibiotics. Hopefully he will make a full recovery.
We recently had a juvenile Heron in care here at the Centre. He/she has gone now, only for history to repeat itself, as this individual is ‘hanging out’ round the Centre stealing food from the owl feed tables. Let’s hope he grows out of it and joins heron society on the cannon bank.
I have included a few photos this week, neither of which feature owls; one of which features ‘Grass of Parnassus’ taken by me whilst on holiday in the Peak District, and the other was taken by Vicky Lane during the recent Moth hunt here at Muncaster, and which features Britain’s second rarest insect; the Netted Carpet Moth. My point of including these images is this; I have spent a lot of time outside during this summer, especially during dusk, as I have a new pup that seems go through his active phase at this time. In my garden I have a lot of nectar rich flowers such as ‘Large Flowered Evening Primrose’. In the past I would frequently see ‘Drinker’ Moths hovering near these flowers at dusk, fuelling up on the rich nectar. This year I have seen none. The same can be said for many other invertebrates. My car’s wind screen has remained virtually unblemished by insect collisions throughout the whole summer. Invertebrates are a vital link in the food chain. I would think there are several contributing factors for their decline, one of them being a decline in our natural wild flowers throughout the United Kingdom. I have included the photo of ‘Grass of Parnassus’ to show that not all wild flowers are drab and boring. There are many varieties which would look out of place in gardens. Gardens in the UK could provide a valuable resource for wild life in the future, and in many cases already do. It’s no secret that the continuing success of the Netted Carpet Moth here at Muncaster is closely linked to that of the Yellow Balsam, which is currently thriving.
I apex predators such as owls are to have a future, we have to look after the ‘little things’ first. To ‘save the world’ we have to start in our own back yards, quite literally.
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