Friday, 16 March 2018

first Tawny Owl egg of 2018

Tawny Owl(f) with first egg

The snow and cold of early March did not delay this female Tawny Owl from egg-laying for very long, as the first egg appeared on 16th March.

Tawny Owl(f) incubating amid snow

But with more snow arriving on easterly winds on 17th March, she probably wishes she'd waited a few more days.

The clutch was completed with a second egg.
The first chick hatched 16th April.

Thursday, 15 March 2018

Saturday, 3 March 2018

A wintry start to spring

Standard advice for siting owl boxes is to face them away from the prevailing south-westerly wind and rain. However the start of March saw a week of snow-storms driven across the UK on strong easterlies.

Tawny Owl(f) on bed of snow!

As a result several of our owl boxes have seen an ingress of snow. Though thankfully it seems not to have disrupted this Tawny Owl unduly (it hadn't yet started laying).

Whether this snowy cold snap has caused an increase in owl mortality, and will lead to a delay in egg-laying this year remains to be seen.

Sunday, 28 January 2018

Nigel Snell R.I.P.

It was with much sadness that we learnt that Nigel Snell had died in hospital earlier this month, after several months of ill-health.

Nigel had a lifetime passion for wildlife, accumulating a knowledge of many areas of natural history. He was perhaps best-known for his role in the re-introduction of Red Kites to the Chilterns, being the project co-ordinator for English Nature and the RSPB.

When BBOG was first formed, Nigel's help was invaluable in introducing us to the landowners in the Hambleden Valley, so we could monitor the Barn Owl boxes that he had installed in the past.

Nigel was always generous with his time and advice. He will be greatly missed by all who knew him.

An obituary in the Henley Standard can be found here:


Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Honey bees rescued

Honey Bee colony in a Little Owl box

We often find wasps and hornets taking up residence in our owl boxes.

But this month's surprise was to find an active colony of honey bees occupying one of our little owl boxes.

With the help of a local bee-keeper we were able to relocate the colony to a bee-hive where they were provided with enough food to see them through the winter. Honey bees can survive the winter cold, but not a lack of food.

Honey bee populations have been in steady decline for many years due to a combination of threats including changing agricultural practices, neo-nicotinoids, the varroa mite pest, Asian hornets and climate change. So it is good to be able to give them a helping hand.

Friday, 10 November 2017

Dead Owls on M40 Motorway

Should you see a dead owl on the M40 please contact us asap by email (below) or phone with details of the location (East or West-bound carriageway, hard-shoulder/lane/central reservation, nearest km marker/exit, date and time).
We will arrange for Carillion, the highways maintenance contractor for the M40, to collect it for us to check if ringed and send on to the Predatory Bird Monitoring Service for analysis.