Annual Report 2014

Wet and windy weather characterised the beginning of the season up to the last week in March.   From then on conditions were good with dry sunny weather predominating till the end of July.   Unfortunately the trend of low territory occupation continued at just over 50%, with no kestrels recorded on several field days.   Of the 21 pairs which established on territory, 17 went on to breed and productivity was high.

Nine clutches were recorded, two of which had seven eggs, the average clutch size being 5.5, an indication that prey levels were good.   However at no nest site was there evidence of caching which is normally a sign of very high vole numbers.   Seventeen pairs reared 68 young, four per pair, a production rate of 3.2 per pair for all the established pairs including the pre-laying failures.   For the second year in succession July was warm and dry for the post fledging period.

The 2014 breeding statistics are as follows :-

The four failed breeding attempts were at the pre-laying period with pairs holding territory but not laying.   Twenty eight young were ringed and fitted with colour rings – white numbers on red background.   Although funding was in place, a project to satellite tag young birds fell through and hopefully will be progressed in 2015.   A new batch of nest boxes, funded by Scottish Power and organized by the Dumfries and Galloway Raptor Study Group, were erected at the south end of the main study area near the energy company’s installations.No ringing recoveries were received.

GORDON RIDDLE October 2014