Fledgling Owls

In Wakefield, the tawny owl family is doing well. One of the youngsters left the nestbox earlier this week and a second one has been preparing to go by scrambling up to the entrance hole. As well as bringing in birds and small mammals, the adults have been seen feeding frogs to the youngsters.

The first tawny chick to leave the box.

The first tawny chick to leave the box.

The second chick trying to get to the entrance.

The second chick trying to get to the entrance.

There is lots of dense ivy and a large Lleylandii hedge close to the box to provide the necessary cover in which fledgelings can hide during the daytime.

Meanwhile, Young barn owls at a site in the Wakefield area have grown well and have been starting to look outside their nestbox this week.

Young barn owls.

Young barn owls.

September meeting: Madagascar by Pete Williamson

It’s always good to hear a lecture from one of our own members and tonight’s talk by Pete on his birding trip to Madagascar was no exception. Pete gave us a lively and entertaining talk about his visit to this beautiful island that is home to some amazing wildlife, including the famous lemurs. He covered landscapes and people as well as the wildlife and highlighted just how much deforestation is underway creating a massive threat to the island’s wildlife. Despite the continual threat and destruction of Madagascar at the hand of man, the island still has some incredible species and Pete certainly had lots of images to show us including endemic bird species, chameleons, lemurs, insects, butterflies and flowers. A great talk to kick off the season of indoor lectures.

Madagascar Wildlife

Madagascar wildlife by Pete Williamson

Members’ sightings at the call over included Osprey at Wintersett, grayling butterflies at Horbury Bridge (good to know they are still there) and other butterfly sightings in the warm September sun included comma, painted ladies, speckled wood, red admiral and holly blue. A grass snake was reported from Stanley Ferry Flash which is a new area for this uncommon local species.

There was an exhibit brought in of orange balsam which was found just outside our recording area but members were asked to be on the lookout for it and to report any sightings.Orange balsam (Impatiens capensis) is a North American species which appears to be colonising the UK, usually in low lying areas along river banks and canals and it grows to around 1m tall and is covered in orange flowers in late summer/early autumn.