It was a very busy weekend with the first Owl Safari on Saturday night, and then the final Migrants Walk on Sunday afternoon, and Owls & Badgers on Sunday evening. The owl safari was originally postponed because of bad weather, but a few participants had made special arrangements, and postponement wasn't possible for them, so it went ahead with reduced numbers anyway. As it turned out the torrential rain didn't materialise, so cancellation wasn't actually necessary - the forecasters should have their wages docked for incorrect forecasts!
The Tawny Owls were found roosting in nearby trees before dark, and even 2 Little Owls were glimpsed, but they didn't give clear views. A Buzzard and a Kestrel were seen hovering, whilst we were serenaded by a Song Thursh, a Blackcap and a few Meadow Pipits. A wait for Badgers failed to come up with the goods, but we drove back to the gallery in the dark for the climax. This proved hugely successful as 2 adults and 4 chicks flew right up to our vantage point, and everyone was able to observe their antics.
The Migrant Walk yielded pretty similar birds as the previous evening with the addition of Yellowhammer, Great Spotted Woodpecker, and plenty of Linnets.
Robert answered the call of a local farmer, who suspected trouble with his Barn Owl box. There were 2 chicks inside, which had pecked at their dead sibling, and a trail camera was set up to determine if the parents were still visiting. Robert placed food inside the hide with the chicks and arranged to visit again the following evening. Back to the gallery where the specially invited guests saw the roosting Tawny Owls again, and we were taken to a secret location to wait for Badgers. We settled down in a specially constructed hide, and just after 8.30 the first Badger came out to check the air. In all over 3 hours 8 Badgers were spotted, including 3 cubs. These were a lifer for 2 of those present. Finally, there was a drive of over an hour to get back home around midnight!
Badger (c) 2011 Vince Cowell