Annual Report 2007
As with the 2006 season the big surprise was the lack of voles in some areas. Even in the areas where the kestrels did well there was a distinct lack of signs on the ground which would have indicated a vole peak. The general concensus among fieldworkers was that the 2005 low was a very severe one and that vole recovery in some areas was very slow. This patchy situation was reflected in the breeding results.
The weather was mixed, a cold sunny but dry April, a mixed May and wet June and July. This did not seem to deter the birds which bred as they were extremely productive with the usual high conversion of eggs to fledged young (94%). Territory occupation was particularly low but clutch sizes of the breeding birds was high with 3 clutches of 6 eggs and the number of young produced per successful pair was extremely high at 5.15 per pair. This goes against the trend in many other parts of Britain where brood sizes are diminishing (BTO figures).
The three failed breeding attempts were all at the pre laying stage with the pairs setting up territory, displaying then disappearing from the area. Forty four young were ringed. No ringing recoveries were reported.
GORDON RIDDLE October 2007