All things wise and won­der­ful

Middlesbrough Herald & Post - - HERALD & POST -

THE Herald & Post’s wildlife colum­nist is a fa­mil­iar name to read­ers - Eric Pay­lor, the Evening Gazette’s for­mer foot­ball writer. Now, es­pe­cially for H&P read­ers, he is writ­ing reg­u­larly about an­other pas­sion - na­ture. Eric has al­ways been a great na­ture lover and is par­tic­u­larly in­ter­ested in birds, so... go wild with Eric.

WILDLIFE work­ers in the Tees area have made a valu­able con­tri­bu­tion to­wards boost­ing the re­gion’s barn owl pop­u­la­tion.

Chris­tine Cor­bett from the River Tees Re­dis­cov­ered Land­scape Part­ner­ship re­ports that barn owl boxes have suc­cess­fully fledged lots of young birds be­tween Teesmouth and

Pierce­bridge. Li­censed vol­un­teers from the BTO and Teesmouth Bird Club have li­aised with landown­ers through­out the RTR area and in­stalled and mon­i­tored five barn owl boxes, all of which have been suc­cess­ful with 20 chicks ringed.

This fine photo of a barn owl, com­plete with ring, was taken by Dave Pearce. The RTR pro-

ject has also in­stalled other nest boxes, which have been used by tawny owls.

Chris­tine added: “The small bird boxes we in­stalled with vol­un­teers at the Tees Bar­rage pro­duced three broods of great tits, one brood of blue tits and a fam­ily of wrens, all of which fledged.

“Not bad for a first sea­son.”

It’s good to see that wildlife in our area con­tin­ues to be sup­ported by sev­eral fan­tas­tic or­gan­i­sa­tions.

The River Tees Re­dis­cov­ered Land­scape Part­ner­ship is a Her­itage Funded pro­gramme of ac­tiv­i­ties de­liv­ered and co­or­di­nated by a cen­tral team based at the bar­rage, plus a range of part­ner or­gan­i­sa­tions such as the Tees Val­ley Wildlife Trust.

The main aim is to cel­e­brate the her­itage of the River Tees in our re­gion with events, ac­tiv­i­ties, vol­un­teer­ing and phys­i­cal im­prove­ments.

If you want more in­for­ma­tion, check out the web­site at www. river­teesre­dis­cov­ered. org

I have a good friend who is a li­censed ringer work­ing in the north of our area. He has been ring­ing barn owls in nest boxes that were erected on pri­vate farms and re­ports 16 suc­cess­fully fledged chicks from four nests.

It is cal­cu­lated that 80% of Bri­tish barn owls are now fledged in nest boxes, which in­di­cates the tremen­dous work which is go­ing on.

Barn owl num­bers are still well short of what they were many years ago, but at least we are head­ing in the right di­rec­tion. While the barn owls have en­joyed a ter­rific year, we’ve not seen too many rare birds on Teesside.

So bird­ers’ phones were re­cently when a night heron de­scended on RSPB Saltholme.

This medium sized heron is rarely spot­ted in this coun­try. This par­tic­u­lar in­di­vid­ual may have win­tered in Africa, though I saw quite a few while on hol­i­day in the United States a few years ago.

Eric would like to hear from you. Email him at eric.pay­lor@gmail.com

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