Annual Report 2002

The 2002 season saw the classic bottoming out of the vole cycle in the main study area following the peak in the year 2000.   It was not until late June that voles were encountered on the ground.   Predictably the kestrel breeding season was a very poor one with some of the lowest occupation and production figures for many years.   A measure of the season was that by 10 May I had only recorded ten sightings of kestrels on territory since 23 March and seen only one pair displaying.

📷On the whole the weather was not good either, only three days recorded without rain in February, drying out in March, mixed in April and May, quite wet in June and monsoon in July.

2002 breeding statistics were as follows :-

Territory occupation was the lowest on record and the first egg was laid on 7 April in a lowland site.   Clutch size ranged from three to five eggs.   Although the number of pairs was small the successful ones reared four young.   Only a small sample of adults were caught but it was quite significant that the most successful hens were all experienced birds – a breeding hen first ringed as an adult in 1996 reared five young, two from 1998 reared five and four and another breeding hen ringed in 2000 reared five.

Gordon Riddle 2002