Recently we ran a successful Barn Owl event at the NNR Base, in conjunction with the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust. Despite the heavy rain early on, plenty of visitors and locals arrived at the base and took part in various activities - quizzes, arts and crafts, pellet dissection, bird ringing, moth trapping and pond dipping. Jean also brought in a Barn Owl for the children to get a close view of, along with an orphaned Little Owl chick which was on its way back in to the wild. Once the rain cleared more people came out to play, along with one of the local Barn Owls which hunted over Bank Island throughout the afternoon.
Fortunately for this little chap he was picked up by a kind passer-by and spent a couple days at Jean’s recovering and feeding up. On the day of release back into the wild, Jean brought him to the base with her in the morning to show some of the children for our ‘owl weekend’ and then took him to a site in Thixendale to be re-homed – where he was safely put into another nest of a Little Owl family (where the chicks were at the same stage). The nest is monitored by cameras, and so we already know that the adults have taken to their newest addition and have started to feed it along with their brood. This is a great result and another job well done, thanks for sharing it with us Jean and also for allowing some of the children to experience one close up before you returned it to the wild.
Lately we’ve also been continuing our work alongside Ad Astra at the NNR base, helping to engage and train a new generation of naturalists. The young 'lads' have been working with Phil (our NNR apprentice), and have got stuck into checking the moth trap, bird monitoring and recording the invertebrate life in our garden pond along with a bit of pond dipping. This is part of a larger project to record the diversity of our wildlife garden and to help build and install a ‘bug hotel’. The group are also working with Phil to help interpret our work in the garden for the enjoyment and education of other visitors to the base.
The bug 'hotel' contains plenty of dead wood of various sizes, for use by some of the invertebrates that use the garden, such as the Long-horned Beetles we’ve mentioned lately. Sections have also been packed with hollow stems and wood with drilled holes to provide suitable locations for Mining Bees and other hole-loving insects.
One of the highlights for the guys was finding Smooth Newts and a number of adult Great Diving Beetles, pictured below. Many thanks to everyone for their enthusiasm and for doing such a good job!