Annual Report 2006

The expected upturn in vole numbers did not materialize in the early part of the season and even when vole numbers increased towards the mid / end of the kestrel breeding season the situation was very patchy.   This, combined with a cold and wet late spring typified by rain, hail and snow in the first week of April, put back the start of the season.   Most pairs started laying in late April / first week in May, the first egg laying date being 8 April.   The percentage of territories occupied was up on 2005 but the average clutch size was low-ish at 4.75 (only two clutches of six eggs were laid).

The 2006 breeding statistics are as follows :-

Hatching success was good and productivity on a par with a build up year following a low vole year.   Of the four failed breeding attempts, three pairs held territory early on but left the territory pre-laying, and one nest was destroyed by a rock fall. 

Two ringed birds, both from the same nest box in consecutive years 2004 and 2005, were recovered dead in April 2006, the first only 7 km from its natal site near Ayr, the second at Kilmory on the Isle of Arran, a distance of 37 km.   The most interesting recovery was from a bird ringed in the Girvan Valley in June which was found dead in early September under a turbine at a nearby windfarm.

GORDON RIDDLE October 2006