Is it a Kestrel?
Following on from my post yesterday about the mystery pellets, I set my Bushnell up in the barn, trying to point it at the roost position. It was quite far away, so I knew the images would not be very good, but I hoped that they would be good enough to determine what bird is roosting here. This morning, I climbed up and retrieved the Bushnell and rushed home to upload. There were 9 clips, but none of them showed any flight in or out from a bird….. but they did show something up nest to the beam, tucked in. There was no movement on any of the clips, so I have uploaded a couple of screen shots… rather dark and blurry….. but clearly NOT a barn owl!
If you look down the pale vertical beam, you can see a dark mass tucked up in the corner. At first, I was still unsure…. it looked too small to be a tawny and too large to be a little owl and this type of roost is not the kind of place such species would be. The barn, as I said before is very open… really just a roof, with small triangular apexes and a third clad on the field side. I looked at the other clips, which were very similar, but this shot shows one significant difference…. a tail…
I know the images are rather blurry… I have cropped these it, but there is clearly a tail here and the back is paler than the rest of the bird. I think it is a male kestrel.
I had hoped for an owl, but this discovery confirms that kestrels are resident here and increases my chances of one using one of my nest boxes.
My second kestrel box is in the sitting room at the moment, as I have been experimenting with a camera sent to me by Mike at HandyKam. It will produce an excellent view inside the box and my plan was to mount this box and its camera in a tree on the opposite side of the field adjacent to my garden. I will not be able to live view the camera as it is too far away, but may be able to film some footage with a small DVR recorder I have bought.
Now I have discovered this roosting kestrel, I wonder whether the barn might be a better place to put this box. I have been reading up on it this morning and have seen pictures of boxes mounted in open barns such as this. There is a clear run into the barn and it faces open countryside. The advantage of mounting the box on the barn (inside or or the outside) would be it is just about in reach of me wiring the camera back to my office….. a big advantage as it means I can watch the camera all the time and live stream images from it. Even if the kestrel just roosted in it, it would be good and that might lead to nesting in the future.
I have contacted the Hawk & Owl Trust for advice. I will let you know what I decide. Thanks to all those who contactd me trying to decide what the pellets were. They do seem large for a kestrel… but there are a range of sizes… who knows… maybe an owl has used this roost as well?