Owl boxes

Sat 31st December 2011

Tawny owl (copy 127px x 180px)Well we’ve come to the end of another year. It’s been nice to have time with my family over Christmas but I’ve not taken too long off as there’s always plenty to do out and about.

If you go out after dark at this time of year you’ll hear the tawny owls calling. They certainly are around here. This tells me that they are pairing up ready for nesting. That familiar ‘twit twoo’ isn’t made by a single bird, it’s a combination of the male and female call. The ‘twit’ is the female telling the male what she thinks of him, and the ‘twoo’ is his response.

The earliest birds to nest are the beautiful black ravens and they’ll start in January. The owls won’t be far behind so now is a good time to be putting up owl boxes if you’ve not already done so. And that’s just what I’ve been doing. It’s a big job so be sure to ask for help. I’ve had two people helping me; Billy my granddaughter Roxy’s boyfriend and my friend Rupert who’s a great wildlife photographer and film maker.

Rupert’s helping me set up a camera in our box. We’ve put in seven infra-red lights and set the camera inside under the top cover. From this position we should see the owl’s head coming to the entrance of the box, maybe carrying a mouse if he’s had a successful hunt. I’m really hoping for some good shots.

If you want to put up a box yourself, there is lots of information on the website of The Barn Owl Trust www.barnowltrust.org.uk.

I’m putting my new box next to my newest hide, from where I film the wild boar. I’m doing this because the food I put down for the wild boars will be attracting other animals such as mice, a primary food source for owls.

The other thing I’m working on at the moment is a new DVD about our land. People keep asking me how it’s developing, especially if the pond is well established now, so I thought I’d make a film to show you. I’m aiming for it to be finished by the Spring. The night time filming is going better now and I’m getting some good footage of the wild boar.

There’s a different sort of filming I want to tell you about this week. I have quite a problem keeping food down at times and the doctors decided to put a camera down inside me. What an experience that was.

I was down in the Gemini Suite of North Devon District Hospital just before Christmas with five other patients. They all decided to have a general anaesthetic but I didn’t want that. Instead they sprayed in my throat to deaden the feeling before poking the camera down.

Dr Davis and his crew did a wonderful job. They were so kind to me and I really want to thank them. What a sensation though. I’m telling you, I could feel this thing going all the way down inside me. Dr Davis was talking to me all the time, telling me where he was and what he could see. Down it went into my stomach and my guts. At one point I thought it was going to come out the other end.

The good thing was that Dr Davis was able to tell me straight away what was going on in there. There’d been a fear it might be cancer but he said it’s all looking good and healthy. That was the best Christmas present I could have had.

I share this with you in case any of you are facing something similar. Maybe you’re afraid to get a complaint checked out or nervous about going through something like I did. I can’t say it was pleasant bit I had it done and I’m glad I did. I’m just grateful that we have the health care we do and lovely people like Dr Davis and his team to look after us.

Just two last things before I sign off for 2011. Firstly, the quiz I’ve been running over the past few weeks for my online customers. Thank you so much to everyone who entered. I hope you had a bit of fun doing it. The winner is Diane Simmons. Well done Diane.

Secondly, in my last blog I told you about the wonderful grave stone Carol and Allan at Timeless Memorials sent Julie and me. We think so much of it. Well I thought you might like to see a photo of it so I’ve included one below.

And now, finally, I’d like to wish each and every one of you a Happy New Year. Here’s to 2012.