Wednesday 25th September 2013
Yesterday, the 24th of September, I went out on a visit with Millie Clarke, the WOT Conservation Officer. There had been a call out to a farm out in the wilds near Frizington, (pronounced ‘Frizzington’).
A Barn Owlet had been seen on the ground in a barn where it was known to be used by Barn Owls. The thing is that this species has had a bit of a hard time of things earlier on in the year, as we had a very cold spring, which affected the Barn Owl’s breeding season. As a consequence, many Barn Owlets have been hatched much later on in the season than they would normally. This means that many of them will be fledging at a time when the weather starts to get worse.
It was with that in mind that we went to visit the site on the farm. Lo and behold, we found an owlet which had fallen out of the nest site; a cavity in the wall above the main door, and which had worked its way to the back of the barn, on top of a pile of logs. It was a few weeks short of coming out of the nest site, so we put it back again, with a ‘little help’ in the form of some dead day old chicks, which form the bulk of our collection’s diet.
Luckily, the farm had some suitably long extending ladders, as the nest site was high up. We will keep our fingers crossed as to whether this small owlet, which I guess to be male, will fledge successfully into the wild.
On Sunday the 22nd of September; on my day off, I was walking the dogs with my wife on Birkrigg Common near Ulverston. I know that this isn’t strictly anything to do with work, but I had a reminder about what motivated me to become involved with conservation in the first place.
There is a stone circle on Birkrigg called ‘the Druid’s Circle’. As chance would have it, a Druid was actually performing a ritual in honour of the Autumn Equinox, when day and night are of equal length. An acquaintance of mine, amongst others, was also in attendance. We were invited to take part in the ritual, which involved drinking ‘mead’ and ‘Merlin’s Ale’, so I accepted with alacrity. We got to talking, and were discussing some religion’s general belief that our earthly existence represents ‘hell’, and that the afterlife moves on to something better. My friend said he didn’t agree with that. He pointed towards the breath taking vista of the Furness and Cartmell peninsulas basking in Morecombe Bay, and said; “How can this be hell?” I have to say, I agree with him. That’s a good reason why we have to look after this earth of ours.
See you next week
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