Part 8, The Final Episode, Life at the Barn Owl Box 00225

Part eight ‘Life at the Barn Owl box 00225’ will be the last instalment. The scouting camera was taken down on September 3 rd.

Both young owls have now completely fledged the owl box. However, as you will see in the video they have been returning to the oak tree on occasions at night, but not entering the owl box. It is encouraging that both young owls are fending for their selves and managing to find plenty of prey to eat.

This has been very rewarding for me to see these two owls being ringed on July 15 th and seeing them develop over the coming weeks to the point that they have eventually fledged and are now fending for themselves and hopefully they will both reach fully adulthood without any harm coming to them. I hope that maybe they will return to the owl box 00225 to breed themselves sometime.

On the morning of the 30th August about 6:30am to 6:45am you will see in the video three members of the crow family having a look in and about the box before flying away. Are they just being inquisitive or maybe looking to the future for a nesting site for the next breeding season? I have observed the box on many occasions for new life within, but the box remains empty.

At the end of the video footage of part 8 there is a sound recording of the barn owls calling and screeching around the grounds at night. It always sounds like they are calling to each other.

On Tuesday night of the 6 th September, I ventured up the wildlife meadow to lay in wait on the ground, out of site of the box as best has possible, to see if the young owls had completely fledged the box. I did not have to wait long, at 8. 45pm the two young owls flew in from the south. One owl perched in the upper canopy of the oak tree, and the other owl flew into the taller tree to the left. They then began calling (screeching) in a light tone that became louder. Within a couple of minutes, one of the adult owls appeared but instead of flying over to them in the tree, it must have observed me lying motionless on the ground and began hovering around 1.5m above me for around 30 seconds before eventually greeting the two young owls which were now together in the oak tree. A scary but exciting experience I will never forget looking straight up into the eyes of a Barn Owl.

I hope you’ve enjoyed the clips part 1 to 8 of the two young owls progress from being ringed and successfully fledging the box, as much as I have making them over the weeks.

The End.

The Deadly Rabbit Desease Myxomatois.

For the period of sixteen years (2000) we have lived at The Grange and The Grange Lodge, rabbits have been a common site around the grounds. With numbers increasing steadily over the years, and it’s notbeen unusual if you were about early in the mornings to see has many as twenty to thirty rabbits at one time around the grounds. That is until about early July this year, when the first rabbit was spotted with the rabbit disease myxomatosis. Their numbers have been declining rapidly ever since.

Myxomatosis or 'myxi', the more common name for the disease, was released by the Australian Government in the 1950s as a biological control agent. Myxomatosis is still very much present today and is a massive threat to wild and domestic rabbits. Myxi is usually spread by biting insects (fleas, mites, mosquitoes) carrying the Myxomatosis virus. However, a UK report from the autumn 2000 outbreak suggests that rabbit-to-rabbit transmission may now occur in the UK.

Once a rabbit is infected with myxomatosis (domestic or wild) they suffer from a series of excruciatingly painful and inhumane symptoms: Nasal discharge, acute conjunctivitis often resulting in blindness, swelling of the ears, face and genitalia, loss of appetite, lethargy and fever and secondary infections. e.g.; pneumonia

It can take up to two weeks before the rabbit eventually dies. The rabbit will most likely die from a secondary infection or starvation. Some rabbits will even die in their own excrement, as they eventually become too weak to move. Rabbits are regarded as pests under the Pests Act 1954. Landowners must take precautions to control their numbers. However, any disease which blinds its victim in the first few days, blocks its nose so it can’t breathe, forces it to breathe through its mouth so it can’t eat and then lasts up to and over 14 days so the infection can spread even further is not acceptable.

There seems to be an acceptance by the public to the diseases existence and of its impact on wild rabbits catching it and being out of sight, that we’ve come to ignore it and accept it.

If you came across a rabbit with the disease would you put it out of its misery or leave it to suffer a lingering death?

Images 1-4 are of bright eyed and bushy tailed healthy rabbits.

Images 5-9 show stages of the dilapidating disease Myxomatois to death.

The Humble Moorhen

There cannot be many visitors to “The Grange CL” wild life meadow that would not recognise the moorhen. It can be seen almost anywhere around the grounds, the 5CL caravan site, fishing lake, wild life pond and around the many paths of the wild life meadow at all times of the year.

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Wildlife Pond

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