Sunday, 7 February 2016

Tawny Owls & The Parks Forum

On Saturday (30th Jan) Dave & Paul from the South Gloucester Hawk & Owl Trust came to Badock's Wood to look for suitable trees to place two Tawny Owl nesting boxes. There are 3 already in the wood near the Westbury Wildlife Park but these are deteriorating and also too high for monitoring. Even if not used recently by owls the boxes have been used by other Badock's residents; as demonstrated by a photo first shown last autumn. Finding suitable trees was more tricky that I'd expected. Tawny owl chicks, even before they can fly, like to sit out on nearby branches so the parents will look for these. Naturally they will sometimes fall off and there is a risk from dogs but also that walkers might pick them up and 'rescue' them so they must not be too close to paths. However Tawny Owl chicks are very good climbers and if left will make their way up the trunk and back to the branch or box. Here is a Barred Owl (American) demonstrating how it's done:  click here.
If chicks of any species have fallen out of a nest they will have the best chance of survival if left where they are. The parents are likely to be watching from nearby and will usually guide and care for the chick. There are very few chicks that survive after being taken home. If the chick is in danger then it is better to place it in the safety of a nearby bush.
We hope to have our boxes by the summer and ready for next year's nesting season. If you asked most people to imitate an owl call they'd in fact try the call of the Tawny Owl but the other types of owl can be very different. Here is a site which has owl calls. Before you listen to the other owls I suggest you listen to Tawny owl 'Adult Call 2'. Try the others after this but be prepared for it being loud. It's quite an 'ear opener'. You can see why it could make you nervous in a wood at night. Try this - Owl calls. but be prepared !

I know I've put in Tree Creeper before but over the last couple of weeks I've seen a pair several times in different places in the wood. Whether there are several pairs or it's the same pair turning up in different places I don't know but I put in these photos because in the first photo you can see the fine curved beak and in the second you can see it being poked into a crevice seeking out food item. The other thing to notice in the second photo is the very long hind claw. This bird is rarely seen other than climbing upwards. You will notice a zig zag pattern. It climbs up the tree then flies to the base of another and repeats the process, always climbing up. The claws are not designed for climbing down. I saw this bird at the beginning of our Owl Box

 That same afternoon while a group of us were doing the RSPB Big garden Birdwatch in the wood, I was pointing out a Woodpecker hole when we saw a Nuthatch exploring it. We didn't see it go in but it was making a good inspection of the exterior. Birds are great believers in the adage 'Location, location, location'. They can't be too cautious of access for predators, direction of sun and possibility of rain water running in. You might hear a Nuthatch call in the wood so here is a link to show what it sounds like - Nuthatch call. There are photos of a Nuthatch on the same web page and also in an earlier post. It's an impressive bird and one to look out for.

Last time I put in a photo of two slugs. It turns out that they were Arion Hortensis. It sounds quite impressive but they are in fact Common Garden Slugs.  However at the same time I took a photo of several slugs that were under an upturned bit of rubbish in the wood. I sent these off to a site on the Internet called iSpot. It's very useful because you can send in any photos of wildlife and someone who knows will identify the specimen for you. I've used it only 3 times but it's been very helpful. Of course it can be disappointing.

For instance, when I sent in a photo hoping it was a Stockdove and turned out to be a young Woodpigeon. The small group of slugs was thought to include: Tandonia budapestensis (the Budapest slug), Arion circumscriptus, Derocerus invadens ( the chestnut slug), Derocerus reticulatum (the netted slug) and possibly Arion owenii. They also, unasked, identified the snails in the same photo for me: Oxychylus sp., Discus rotundatus and Trochulus striolatus. You might not find this at all interesting but it is worth noting the website and see what you can find there. - see iSpot.  Of course the birds in the wood are very interested in slugs !!

These orange fungi were on a dead tree last week, near the steps up to the meadow. They are Velvet Shank Fungus. I was reminded by a friend of spore prints. I used to make them for my own girls and they are great fun and can be beautiful, each fungus having a different colour and pattern of spores. It's certainly worth doing when you find fungi in plentiful supply. I wouldn't have wanted to pick these fungi nor encourage others to do so but you can practise on ones you find in abundance in the right season. This spore print is from the internet.
How to make a spore print. Also look at examples of spore prints.

 If you are interested in the open spaces of Bristol then you might like to know about the Bristol Parks Forum. It is an umbrella organisation for all the parks and green spaces of Bristol. I will paste a paragraph from their website explaining their raison d'être..........
"Bristol Parks Forum was established by Bristol Parks as an umbrella organisation for community park groups and organisations in the city with an interest in their local parks and green spaces.
The forum is still supported by Bristol City Council but is now run independently and is currently the only ‘community voice’ that is dedicated to all of Bristol’s green spaces.
The forum’s three main roles are:
– to offer an opportunity to share ideas and experience;
– to act as a consultation body for the Bristol Parks service and other agencies;
– to influence decision-making, including the allocation of resources".

There is a lot of information on their website and it gives links to Friends' Groups around the city.
If you are interested to know what is going on in the city with regard to your local Green Space and what is planned, then look at :  Bristol Parks Forum.

  • Unfortunately yesterday's (Feb 6th) work party had to be called off. There was heavy rain and strong winds of about 50mph. There will be another opportunity to help on March 5th so email Siân at for information if you'd like to be involved.
  • The FOBW and BART Litter Pick in Trymside and Badock's Wood takes place on Feb 27th. See posters in the wood or email for more information. If you'd like to know about the work that BART (Bristol Avon River Trust) does click here. 
  • If you'd like to be kept up to date with news and events related to Badock's Wood then you can be put on the FOBW emailing list. Contact the secretary at or look at the FOBW website : Friends of Badock's Wood. 
  • You can enlarge photos by clicking on them.
  •  You can comment on anything in this blog by writing to

mike townsend

No comments:

Post a Comment