Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Oxford Harcourt Arboretum

Although the Breeding season has come to an end I recently went to the Oxford Harcourt Arboretum to partly look for nests but mainly to see what sort of stuff there is and to see wether I could include it as one of my Nest Record Scheme sites. The main species of interest there are; Little Owl, Barn Owl, Tawny Owl, Nuthatch, Willow warbler, Chiffchaff and potentially Spotted and Pied Flycatchers. There are three main areas where I think there are nests; a large young plantation of Ash, Willow and small shrub with wildflower (with Willow warblers and Chiffchaffs), A large old wood of mainly Oak (with Flycatchers, Tawny Owl, Red kites and Nuthatch) and finally two large fields of grazed and non-grazed wildflower with a barn and scarcely spread out trees (with Barn Owls and Little Owls).
I started by heading to the wood where I heard what could be a Spotted and Pied Flycatcher but also spotted what could be a young Red kite from a nest that has been used two years in a row. There was also a large amount of good nest sites for the Flycatchers and Tawny Owls (dead trees with cavities and holes).

Red kite (possibly Juvenile)

I then moved onto the young plantation where there were only Chiffchaffs and Willow warblers to be heard and after a while of searching there were no signs of nests. I then Finally went on to the Old barn where there was a Barn Owl box. The box had been used two years ago but in the last few years has been abandoned and it was only a few weeks ago that one of the staff realised there was a pair nesting in it and it was just possible to hear the young bumping around in the box. I also spent a bit more time around the edge of the field looking for signs of Little Owls and Tawny Owls in amongst the trees but found nothing other than a Stock Dove nest. Hopefully like in my local area and reserve I will be able to put up nest boxes for the Flycatchers and Owls, but if i'm really lucky put up a natural nest box either a Tawny or Little Owl or even a Nuthatch, made from a a dead trunk sawn off, hollowed out and attached back to the tree.