Friday, 25 November 2011

Raptors and Owls

23rd November 2011

 A different kind of day: ornithologist Martin Davison gave a talk about his job and passion – raptors and owls of Kielder Forest.
In the classroom

This was followed up with a walk in the afternoon, from The Stables and back by way of West Wood, so that we could relate our new knowledge to Gibside. Martin pointed out likely potential sites for birds of prey to nest – red squirrel dreys, crows’ nests, and woodland spots with ideal access.

An afternoon walk

Martin was able to point out the characteristics of the remains of a wood pigeon that indicated that it had most likely ended its days as dinner for a sparrow hawk rather than any other predator. We also examined the contents of some tawny owl pellets.
Martin & Phil
Martin points out potential nesting site

Not unexpectedly, three red kites came to see what we were up to, but that was our only raptor or owl sighting of the day. However, we did spot a roe deer, and Phil Younger led us to a roe deer circle – tracks circling a tree, the result of courtship behaviour.
And as usual we were  lucky to have a fine day.

Owl Sculpture

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