Friday, 28 November 2008
Tuesday, 25 November 2008
We had a small group of us that organised this event, and were delighted that the Hawk and Owl Trust had donated 2 raffle prizes, also that Cotleigh Brewery (makers of fine real ales named after Birds of Prey and Owls) donated 2 raffle prizes, with one being a never to be repeated complete gift pack of Barn Owl Beer.
We were all gob smacked when after 100 chairs were placed out we had to add two more rows!
I'm not going to say any more, the rest of this posting is the words of Jenny Rowson from Compton Dundon. But I will just finish my bit by saying a huge thank you everyone who helped and joined in the fun of the evening.
Words By Jenny Rowson of Compton Dundon
Last Friday evening November 21st Chris Sperring MBE, world famous naturalist, broadcaster and Conservation Officer for the Hawk and Owl Trust gave a most enjoyable talk about owls at the Meadway Hall in Compton Dundon. His talk was free of charge and was dedicated to the villagers because, as he put it, of their magnificent response during the summer 2008 when an arson attack on a farmers barn caused the young Barn Owls to be burnt to death in the fire.
The village had collected over £100 for the Hawk and Owl Trust and also provided a replacement owl box which, on advice, was erected close to the destroyed one. Chris applauded the concern and rallying round shown after the disaster and rewarded the community with an extremely informative, interesting and at times amusing talk assisted by a superb visual display and Chris's amazing ability to demonstrate owl calls.
Chris was very enthusiastic about the area surrounding Compton Dundon which apparently is very good owl country with its open grassland, scrub land and abundance of trees and he emphasised the importance of leaving strips of long grass around fields to encourage mice and voles for the owls.
Tom and Jenny Rowson who were instrumental in replacing the owl box, with the support of J & F Clark Trust, helped to organise the evening and were apprehensive about the number of people who would attend. However, they need not have worried because the response was beyond expectations resulting in an audience of over 130 people who generously bought raffle tickets, owl trinkets, owl and bird boxes and refreshments. The unanimous verdict was that the evening had been informative, inspiring, thoroughly enjoyable and a great success.
Chris brought along his two captive owls, Otus and Beau who were very beautiful and caused a great deal of admiration, interest and photographing. The audience were allowed to see these magnificent tame birds extremely close up which was a wonderful experience.
The Hawk and Owl Trust Chairman, Barbara Handley, was in charge of membership and Adopt-a-Box sign-up and although it is not yet known how many people joined the Trust on the night, several forms were taken away.
After deducting expenses such as hire of the hall and raffle prizes other than those donated, £250 was raised on the evening which Chris and the Trust were delighted with.
My words again. From Death comes life, and the fact that so many people which included so many landowners turned out for this event means that wildlife has been firmly put on the agenda in this small, yet precious part of Somerset. I have now to follow up on new farm visits to farmers, who all want to help Owls (which means all wildlife). Brilliant! I love people! And I love Wildlife......... This should give everyone faith in the fact that we as a species can turn a wrong into a right.
Saturday, 22 November 2008
It was not until I picked it up I could see why it was holding its eye shut, and this also explained its poor condition. Look at the picture and look closely under the eye. What you will see is the large body of a Tick. The Kestrel appeared not only in pain, but also upon handling was very thin indeed. First job once back home was removal of the Tick, this was done very quickly, then ensuring the Kestrel was warm and fed. Within 4 hours the Kestrel had perked up so much that it thanked me by grabbing my finger and drawing a good mount of blood from me, clearly this bird was on the mend. It may seem surprising that a tick could down something like a Kestrel. However the location of the tick around the eye was causing this bird a lot of distress, this had impaired its hunting which had meant it began to lose condition.
This Kestrel is now in a large aviary and will be released in a few days. I just want to make sure the Kestrel is back up to its right weight and of course there is nothing else wrong, but at the moment it looks fine and seems to have recovered, meaning of course that the Tick did down the Kestrel.
Thursday, 20 November 2008
Friday night sees me talking in Compton Dundon, this talk is for the community in the parish, and their magnificent response during the summer 2008 when an arson attack on a farmers barn caused the young Barn Owls to be burnt to death in the fire. The concern and rallying round this community did has to be applauded and my talk tomorrow night is dedicated to them.
People and Wildlife Works....
Wednesday, 19 November 2008
Sunday, 16 November 2008
Saturday, 15 November 2008
Saturday, 8 November 2008
Wednesday, 5 November 2008
Volunteer then dives in Water for a closer look!
Hawk and Owl Trust Shapwick Moor volunteers Water Vole Surveying
Water Vole feeding signs and bankside hole
Sunday, 2 November 2008
Saturday, 1 November 2008
Snow in October? Well some did get snow, seems here in good olde Somerset we have had a couple of night frost, then a real icy wind from the north east which seems to go straight through you when you are out walking. Suddenly both Redwings and Fieldfares (wintering Thrushes) seem to be everywhere, and in big numbers. With the cold weather has come the first of this winters causalities, and not surprising its a predator who has run out of food first. In this case a young barn Owl. This is a male which was found on a farm on the Mendip Hills. It carried with it a ring number, this corresponded to a ring I put on it on July 23rd, it was the youngest of a brood 4 which hatched from original clutch of 6 eggs. The farm it hatched on was approximately half a mile from the farm it was found on some 3 months later. It was found around 2 weeks ago seemingly downed itself as many young predators do, simply with not enough food.
Transferred by a Somerset Wildlife Trust officer to a Wildlife rehab centre and then back to the Somerset Wildlife Trust (SWT) officer for release. The SWT officer had the good sense to realise that she already had barn Owls on her land (so not a good idea to release another), so called me in, at which time I am then re-united with a wild Owl I had met 3 months earlier. I now have the owl placed in a release aviary on Mendip over land which has no current barn Owls on it, yet does have some great hunting habitat for it. As this bird looks in A1 condition we will not hold it long just make sure of its capability, and of course some good weather before its released. This Owl is now just 3 miles from the farm it was hatched, although its total mileage is probably well over 40 miles, 98% has been as a passenger in a car.
Very special thanks to Kate Lawrence (SWT) and once again to Paula, this in advance of her help with yet some more monitoring, this time with a wild Owl that hatched at her farm.
For more information about the Somerset Wildlife Trust (SWT)go to http://www.somersetwildlife.org/