What a superb year 2010 proved to be with my local Little Owls, on 289 separate site visits (spread across all my sites) I actually recorded a total of 517 Little Ow sighting.
For the year I had set myself 2 main objectives, firstly to make and erect 40 nest boxes and secondly to reach the magical 100 different Little Owl territories. I started the year on 93 and on April 9th the day I had been waiting for since Aug 2008 finally arrived, my 100th territory was located near the village of Huncote, a memorable day even though I still haven't managed a decent image yet!
Although I promised myself that once the "BIG 100" was achieved the searching for new sites would stop, I was weak and actually exceeded all expectations and added another 40 making it 47 new sites for the year!!!
My run also continues of locating at least one new site per month since Aug 2008 (29 months and counting....), although there was a very close scrape in March.
New sites by month, 2010.
Jan - 2, Feb - 3, Mar - 1, Apr - 4, May - 4, Jun - 2, Jul - 2, Aug - 9, Sep - 8, Oct - 3, Nov - 5 Dec - 4.
My second main objective for the year of making and erecting 40 little Owl nest boxes was also achieved, 41 are up and in place, I still have 1 more to go but that's currently sitting in my garage (I'll do it in January!) many thanks must go to LROS for supplying the timber, the local land owners who gave me access permission and to Ron, Daz, John, Colin and Phil who all helped with erecting them.
Breeding evidence was recorded at 39 different sites producing a confirmed 82 juveniles, sadly only 1 pair successfully raised a brood in one of my boxes, although this was to be expected as the boxes were put up a little late! The Charnwood Ringing Group visited on the 14th of June, and during the evening 5 sites were visited and a total of 15 juveniles and 1 adult were rung, many thanks to them.
And Finally, a selection of some of my images captured during 2010, not necessarily the "best ones" quality wise, just ones that have special memories for one reason or another, please enjoy..........
During the last couple of years of my Little Owl survey I have thoroughly enjoyed myself and it has become a labour of love. But more importantly it has become apparent that here in Leicestershire we are "bucking" the UK trend for a species reportedly in decline. In addition to the 140 sites I have located in South Leicestershire my good friend Richard Pegler has located 15 in NW Leicestershire, a whopping combined 165 sites!!! What I need to do now is try and understand why? I shall continue to search for more territories, monitor any breeding successes (and failures) and with the help of the Charnwood Ringing Group ring any juveniles that are reared in my boxes, hopefully in time the secret will be revealed!!!!!!