The Sheep are finally getting their winter coats removed, lucky for them it's not been that warm this year yet! It's impressive to watch these contract shearers at work, they can shear our whole flock in the time it would take me to do one sheep. It's was all I could do to remove and fold one fleece before the next was ready.
The ewes and lambs have been given a preventative for Fly Strike, a major problem in sheep if the fleece is damp for a prolonged period and the weather is warm. It will be important to check the sheep regularly and dag when required to keep them clean over the next few months. They'll be grazing on the confused flood whilst the Buffalo are occupied in the Reedbeds.
The Kestrels have now fledged, I had hoped to get a pictuire of them before they departed, unfortunately I'm too late. I hope a picture of them from the 27th June at just a week old will suffice.
Kestrels start incubating from the first or second egg, this leads to a staggered hatching and a marked range in chick weights. We estimated that the oldest here was around the week old. Despite fledging the parents are continuing to feed the young Kestrels, they have been seen flying into "The Rough". It is likely that the off spring will stay around for some time yet.
To avoid the weather I have moved the sheep up into the barn to keep them dry ready for shearing tomorrow. Went well until they were presented with a concrete floor, it's not something they've ever come across before! They're all settled in ok now though.
Preparing Padney Field
Despite the weather, the old crop has been mowed and disc ploughed to create a fine shallow seed bed ready for Drilling. The late seeding finch-food crop will be drilled within the next week. The pollen and nectar strips are coming though well, fortnightly mowing should continue to control the thistles.
Ringing the Kestrel Chicks
The Kestrel chicks are finally old enough to ring! Luckily there was a break in the rain long enough to measure and weigh the chicks without letting them get chilled.
Peter Wilkinson specialises in ringing owls but he also records any accessible birds of prey at Kingfishers Bridge.
Kestrels start incubating from the first or second egg resulting in a staggering of eggs hatching, this in turn leads to a range in chick sizes across the brood.
Collecting the chicks from their nest in the hollow willow
Measuring the length of the last joint of the wing and primary wing feathers gives the best indication of the age of each chick
Weighing the Chicks, this gives the best indication of their health and progress
Ring numbers and any information are passed on to the BTO (British Trust for Ornithology)
The Barn Owls are also doing well, both pairs have raised broods of two, despite the bad weather. One brood has now fledged but we'll continue to keep an eye on them and record any sightings.
Reserves Manager at the Kingfishers Bridge wetland creation project in Cambridgeshire.