Tuesday 26th November 2013
Time marches on. It will soon be time to start using ‘2014’ in the blog dates, just as I’m getting used to using ‘2013’. We have a wild Barn Owl in the old quarantine unit at the moment. It came in about a month ago. It was weak and thin, and concussed. It has made a full recovery, and is now scheduled for release tomorrow. This is good news, especially considering we had another successful release last week, namely the Buzzard.
Nest site cleaning commenced down in the Breeding Ground last week; the keepers are making very good progress. This is an important jog, routinely done around this time of year, as this helps reduce the parasite burden for the following year. The main parasite being the Hippoboscid; or flatly. This is a parasite which specializes on bird hosts. It is physically designed to scuttle through feathers, where it ‘makes a living’ by sucking blood. I have mentioned in the past that this helps pass around nasty infections. For more information, please check out my article here. This species survives the winter as larvae hatched from eggs laid singly in dirty nest lining by the adults in late summer/autumn. By cleaning out the dirty nest lining, this not only gets rid of many of next year’s adult flies, but also provides a banquet for the centre’s resident Robins!
I mentioned last week that the light at this time of year is quite amazing. We usually do the heron feed at 4pm. For a while this coincided with sunset. This would mean that the sun for a brief period would sink beneath the clouds, sending a narrow shaft of golden brilliance all the way down to the farthest reaches of Eskdale, illuminating Scafell, Bow Fell and Crinkle Crags. I had been meaning to get a few pictures of this, and last week I managed it. Here’s a few that were taken at that particular time, although, it also happened to be a cloudless day as well, but the colours speak for themselves!
See you next week
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