February 2014 Updates

Wildlife Roundup

The Barn Owls are still hunting over the meadow, but I know they will take several years to recover from last years wet spring.

The Kestrels are in and out of the nest box, so fingers crossed there.

Seven Red Kites have now been spotted altogether in the area, and as you know many hunt around the cottage, so a feeding station will be set up to try and lure them in.

We are still waiting to see if the Stoat is pregnant; but whatever happens she’ll be released in April 2014.

September 2013 Updates

Old Beans Cottage Round-up

A pair of Barn Owls have now been spotted hunting over the water meadows and using the nest boxes. Fingers crossed for next year.

The Agapanthus (Sunfield) plant has given a good show this season, the same as the buddliea, with a rich assortment of butterflies and humming hawk moths.

The Agapanthus plant on the patio at Old Beans Cottage
The Agapanthus plant on the patio at Old Beans Cottage

The Burrowers Nature Series on BBC Two Starts on 16 August 2013

Martin Contributes ‘Kits’ Stoat Footage To BBC Nature Series

The Burrowers will be presented by naturalist Chris Packham

In my June 2013 News Round-up I mentioned that the filmed footage of the kits would feature in a BBC Two Nature Series called The Burrowers.

The series will air later this month on 16 August and the following two Fridays (23 & 30) with my stoat contribution appearing in the first episode.

The 3 part series for BBC Two is a natural history first as presenter and top naturalist Chris Packham takes us on an extraordinary journey underground into the secret lives of some of Britain’s most-loved animals – badgers, water voles, rabbits, stoats and moles.

THE BURROWERS enters their world to bring new science and animal behaviour never captured before.

It’s TV Production Company DRAGONFLY’s first foray into the world of wildlife television and they do so with typical ambition and scale. They are probably most famous for producing bold factual event television such as Plane Crash as well as using the latest camera technology to reveal family and organisational behaviour.

In THE BURROWERS, Dragonfly creates full-scale mega-size burrows to see inside the underground animal kingdoms of some of Britain’s most iconic wildlife.

The production team worked closely with scientists, vets, conservationists and some of the world’s top wildlife cameramen to build unique filming burrows – a year in the making.

So far the Dragonfly team have scored a string of natural history and science firsts including:

  • baby stoats in their nest (filmed by Martin)
  • baby rabbits – including thermal imaging to show how they keep warm
  • orphaned badger cubs learning to live as a family
  • and the most elusive burrower of them all – the mole in glorious close-up devouring a worm, which it wipes and squeezes its guts simultaneously to get rid of any soil.

Transmission Dates:

  • Episode 1 First broadcast Friday 16 August 2013 at 21:00
  • Episode 2 First broadcast Friday 23 August 2013 at 21:00
  • Episode 3 First broadcast Friday 30 August 2013 at 21:00

June 2013 Roundup

Not much sign of the Barn Owls in June; they really have had a bad year. Will check out nest boxes in mid July.

Unexpected visitor at the bottom of the garden – Red Kite – a first for Tickety Boo (next door to Old Beans Cottage)

The Stoats have done well, and the female raised three kits. This was filmed for The Burrowers BBC2, and its a first as this has never ever been filmed before. We are also filming it for BBC1’s The One Show in July, to be shown later in the year. The three kits will be released in a secret location at the end of July.

Ticketyboo Fest on the 29th of June was a tremendous success, and it was great to see the couple from Old Beans cottage enjoying the party………

Rare but welcome visitor - Red Kite
Rare but welcome visitor – Red Kite
Kits at play
Tickety Boo Fest – Right on the doorstep of Old Beans Cottage!
The Big Screen came in to its own when the sun went down

News Round Up from Old Beans Cottage | Feb – May 2013

February – May 2013 Catchup

February 2013

  • The cock pheasant did not make it though the shooting season.

March 2013

  • On the 6th, frogs return to pond , still snowing.
  • The White Horse, East Barsham has now been taken over by Roz and Paul Adock, and has been refurbished, with a warm and friendly atmosphere, and serving up great food.

April 2013

  • On the 3rd, Stoat has given birth to ten kits.
  • 14th Swallows back yeepee
  • 24th Found dead Barn Owl in horse shelter, very very thin.

May 2013

  • Tulips looking great, just waiting for the camassias to burst out.
  • Swallows nesting in stable.
  • Barn Owl hunting over meadow.
  • Kestrels nesting in wood opposite cottage.

Kestrel Box Chick Found

5 October 2012 | I was sad to learn that one of the kestrel chicks from the nest box at Old Beans cottage, had been found dead some 56km (35m) from where we ringed it.

Sometimes nature is tough on wildlife. This is the data sent to me:

Species: Kestrel Scheme: GBT Ring no: EX14933

Ringing details

Age: 1  Sex: female  Sex meth: –  P.ringed: 4  P.alive: 4  Condition: –
Colour marks added: –  Metal marks added: –  Act1: –  Act2: –
Ringing date: 20-Jun-2012
Reg code: —  Place code: NWN485  Site name: near East Barsham, Norfolk
County code: GBNOR  Grid ref: TF9134   Co-ords: 52deg 52min N  0deg 50min E
Hab1: F3  Hab2: E3
Biometrics: Wing: — mm.   Weight: — g.   Time: –hrs

Ringer: North West Norfolk R.G., 9152

Finding details
Ring not verified  Age: –  Sex: F  Sex meth: –
Colour marks added: –    Metal marks added: –    Act1: –  Act2: –
Finding date: 04-Aug-2012
Reg code: —  Place code: —  Site name: Horsey, Norfolk
County code: GBNOR  Grid ref: TG4523   Co-ords: 52deg 45min N  1deg 38min E
Hab1: —  Hab2: —
Biometrics: Wing: — mm.   Weight: — g.   Time: –hrs
Finding condition: 2:76  Movement: —
Freshly dead    Poor Condition:

Remarks: “Quite thin”
Duration: 45 days    Distance: 56 km    Direction: 104deg (ESE)

Barn Owl Chick Update

Barn owl chick that didn't surviveSeptember 2012 | Bad news for the only young Barn Owl chick in the alder tree nest box in the meadow. It hasn’t survived.

I can only put it down to a combination of being such a late season chick and the very bad weather we have suffered which wasn’t conducive to young chicks..

Barn Owls In Town

A pair of barns owls have been seen using the nest boxes, will check them out later.

Kestrel hatched off four chicks, which are flying around the cottage.

Swallows raised four chicks in stable.

The grumpy male pheasant is still alive and fighting!!

Just put up a Kestrel nest box

A Tawny Owl is now nesting in the Barn Owl Box.

Will keep you posted as to how many chicks are nesting in all the boxes.

The Ox-eye Daises are pushing up in the wildflower garden and its beginning to feel like spring is in the air as the swallows are back!