Thursday, 28 July 2011

The Barn Owl is back!

You can imagine our excitement to see the Barn Owl hunting once again over the fields and verges at Coal Yeat Farm. This beautiful blonde bird has recently returned, and caused great interest among our guests staying in our Lake District self catering cottages, as it glides effortlessly searching for food. Forever looking down in search of the slightest movement to indicate a moving mouse, these Barn Owls are decimated countrywide by passing high sided wagons, as they search the roadsides.

But no such problems for our Barn Owl up here at Coal Yeat Farm as wagons are as rare as the owl itself. Is our Barn Owl a male or a female? Has she or he got a mate? Its so fantastic to see that our efforts in leaving lots of untouched areas of natural grassland and unkempt areas have provided the natural habitat of the Barn Owls main food source, the mouse. We have even, in the upgrading of the Lakeland holiday cottages, included an owl hole in the gable end of the building, built to the Owl Conservation Trust's specification.
But unfortunately our Barn Owl prefers, at the moment, other roosts. But not so the Swallows which have now departed, no longer residents on the wall of our self catering holiday cottages. A family of Swallows set up their summer nest outside all three cottages, Yan, Tyan and Tethera, and managed to rear two broods of youngsters this summer. How young Swallows fresh from the nest manage to migrate to Africa after only a couple of weeks on the wing is one of the wonders of nature.

Unlike the barn owl, I managed to photo our fledgling Swallows. Fresh from the nest they had not yet realised that I were to be perceived as danger and they just sat there and let me photograph them.
I am off for by own break in Holland and then all to soon the summer will draws to a close and the colours on the fells and mountains will change slowly from green to brown.  We await the riot of autumnal colour for which the Lake District is so famous. Autumn can be one of the best times of the year to visit the Lake District and I am offering some excellent deals for the remaining weeks in September and October. So why not give me a call on 07887731553 or email?

I cannot guarantee you will see the Barn Owl but you may be lucky! Apparently Barn owls normally feed within 1km radius of their nest site. Within this homerange it requires at least 120 acres of permanent or semi-permanent grassland over which to hunt. Coal Yeat Farm is only 25 acres of permanent grassland, but we are surrounded by many similar small Lakeland farms. Barn Owls are particularly attracted to old rank grassland, heavily fertilised and intensively farmed grassland is a 'green desert' to the Barn Owls. Fortunately farms like Coal Yeat Farm are in environmental schemes where the amount of nitrogen fertiliser is limited, and are therefore not intensively farmed, thus providing the opportunity for these fine Barn Owls to survive.

But it's not just Barn Owls, we have two Little Owls who hang out on the telephone wires on the fell road, a pair of Red Kite and lots of other birds of prey.

From the visitors book
Idyllic setting, beautiful cottage and even the weather was fine all week. GREAT!

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