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Raptor Round Up

Sunday, June 14th 2020

The raptor breeding season is almost over and it has been an extremely busy one for the Foxglove bird ringing team. This beautiful Peregrine Falcon chick is one of over 100 birds of prey ringed this spring.

Unusually, its nest was on the ground and was shared by three siblings. All were ringed with colour rings so that they can be identified as individuals from a distance with a telescope. They were all in good health and were well fed with full crops.

Another brood of Kestrels was ringed last night bringing the total to over 60. There were 5 healthy chicks.

A new record was the discovery of the latest Tawny Owl chicks we've known. There were four of them, one of which (the white one in the centre of the picture) was still too small to be ringed! Mid June is really quite late for them to fledge.

The team only found one Little Owl nest this year. This small owl was introduced to the UK in the 19th century. It can be seen in the daylight, usually perching on a tree branch, telegraph pole or rock. It will bob its head up and down when alarmed. In flight it has long, rounded wings, rapid wingbeats and flies with a slight undulation. Breeding Bird Survey data suggest that little owl numbers are declining. They eat small mammals and birds, beetles and worms. Here is the adult female.

She managed to rear three chicks, here are two of them at around three weeks old.

Buzzards breed later than the other birds of prey and the ringers have just started to visit their tree top nests, with the help of local tree surgeon (and climber) Sean from Yorkshire Tree Specialists!

Whilst out checking the last few boxes, the group have been keeping an eye on the wild Greylag Geese and so far nine goslings have been ringed too.

Finally, there is an article about the reserve in this weeks Darlington and Stockton Times.

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Pumpkin Trail

Wednesday 21st October 2020 | During Opening Times

Come to the reserve over half term and enjoy the autumn colours on the red route (Easy Access Trail) and search for the pumpkin clues along the way. Test your knowledge of the creatures associated with Halloween by answering the fun quiz which is available from the visitor centre for only 50p.

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