Wednesday, 31 July 2013

The blog is back !!

After nearly three weeks of having no laptop, and therefore not being able to update my blog, I am now back in the land of laptop living.
This catch-up blog is all about Cranford Park in the recent weeks.
After the awful news in my previous blog dated 29th June, that we had found a dead male mature Kestrel, I was really starting to dread seeing any juveniles at CP this year, but luckily on one of the hottest days of the year, Sue Giddens and myself found two juvenile Kestrels right at the far end of the ancient woods, the area known as the Headland. The previous day, Corinna Smart and myself had watched a large female Kestrel carrying prey in the same area. So after all those weeks of watching the 'nest' tree and getting more and more down-heartened, it turns out the Woodland Kestrels merely decided to nest in another tree a bit further on. I still suspect the dead male Kestrel is our Woodland male sadly, but the female may find another mate for next year. So below are a couple of shots of the new juvenile Kestrels at Cranford Park.

The most exciting news is about our Little Owls. On the 29th June I reported I had seen one fly from one of the old Oaks by the Information Centre. Tony James went down there on the 2nd July, and incredibly managed to grab a photo of two juveniles sitting outside one of the owl boxes. I didn't want to show this photo before, as I wasn't 100% sure if they had used it to nest in, or if even the adult female was maybe brooding a second clutch of eggs. As you read further on down, you'll see why I'm now happy to publish the pics.
Tony James photo of two Little Owl juveniles, taken on 2nd July 2013
Over the following three weeks, it became a mission to photograph the juveniles. There was always one that appeared to show more than the other. Eventually we nick named him Ozzy. At first all of my friends were luckier than me. Here are a selection of their photos.........

Sue Giddens photo of the one we call Ozzy
Maggie Bucknalls photo of Ozzy
Corinna Smarts photo of Ozzy.
And finally I managed to get some photos. Because Ozzy stays in the tree, its relatively hard to grab a photo when your camera is on autofocus. All my camera wanted to do was focus on the leaves and branches. My photos below were taken over the period 13th-25th July.
The adult birds are much more camera shy, probably due to the amount of dog walkers that frequent the park. I have heard one of the adults many times, usually as an alert call to the juveniles when us 'muggles' are too near. In the first couple of weeks of July, the alert call would send at least one of the juveniles scurrying back to the owl box for cover.
I have only actually seen an adult once, and that was in the ancient woodland. Recently we have only been seeing one juvenile, and I'm starting to wonder if the other one has flown into the woods. One of the regular dog walkers has told several of us, that he found a juvenile on the floor, and put it high up in one of the many rhododendron bushes. Unfortunately he never actually showed any of us where this was, and we all came to different conclusions as to where he meant.
And below is why I am happy to show where we see the juvenile Little Owl we call Ozzy.
This squirrel spent hours like this, dozing in the relative shade of the box. I am 100% sure now, that this is NOT where the Little Owls nested. I actually suspect the nest hole is in another of the old Oaks, and that this tree is their roost tree. I think the juveniles were using this box as a hide away and resting place. Only way to be sure, is to wait until next year, and really study the tree.
Elsewhere on Cranford Park, the hot weather has bought out lots of lovely butterflies, grasshoppers and other little critters.
Large White
Field Grasshopper
Meadow Grasshopper

Ladybird larvae
Small Skipper and Cinnabar moth caterpillar
Essex Skipper and Six-spot Burnet moth
Soldier Beetle
Speckled Wood
This lovely Blackbird above, was running catching grasshoppers and crickets. I've been seeing a lot of this lately, especially around the Information Centre, so the birds must be feeding their second broods now. Nice to know, that even in a heat wave, life still goes on. 
So my blog is back, I've missed doing it. Welcome back me ! Lol. 

1 comment:

  1. Wow - what a come back. Great story line; especially like the Little Owls plus all flutters and misc. insects. (Congrats to all the owl photographers...)

    Really great blog as ever, Wendy..