Heading out around some of our other Barn Owl boxes, we were pointed towards a stables that had four active nests of Swallows. After a little bit of wriggling around at the top of a ladder, we ringed two broods of five but one brood of five were too small to ring.
Swallow (Hirundo rustica)
There was a slight upturn in the outlook for the Barn Owls, the emphasis on 'slight'. Only one Barn Owl was ringed during our visits, a single bird in one box and this seems to be the norm for those Barn Owls that laid at that time. This was confirmed at the next farm that we visited where there was again, a single bird in the box, about ten days (under normal conditions) away from ringing size.
Barn Owl (Tito alba)
The final box that we visited held a total of four eggs and one day-old chick as well as a cache of one vole and one recently fledged Chaffinch. During times of challenging weather, it is common for nocturnal predators like Barn Owls to modify their foraging habits in terms of prey and the time of day at which they hunt. It isn't surprising therefore, to find small passerines in prey items in Barn Owl boxes under these conditions. In fact, both adults flew out of the box when we arrived and as we were leaving, were already returning with avian prey. Given the poor productivity rates that we have experienced this far in the season, this is one of the boxes with a more positive outlook.
This evening I headed out with the dog to see what was around on Rimrose. I checked on a Sedge Warbler nest first of all, the birds had hatched in the last day or two so it will be a little while longer before these birds are ready to ring. Heading further on towards 'The Wabbs' (as the kids call it), there were a good number of Skylark in the air and a female Sparrowhawk hunting low over the common.
Sedge Warbler nest
Returning to Fulwood, I came across this moth. A quick post on to Facebook and Luke Phillips of the A Welsh Birder blog informed me that it was an Agapeta hamana or a Hook-marked Straw Moth. The rest of the walk was relatively uneventful, although there were a decent number of Reed Bunting on the margins of the reed bed.
Hook-marked Straw Moth (Agapeta hamana)