Annual Report 2015

Initially the season began well from a weather point of view. From the beginning of March till the third week of April it was cold but dry, but this changed in the last week of April and into the first part of May as winter returned with a vengeance, cold, hail showers and snow. The upland areas were sodden underfoot. Territory occupation was still low at around 60% and several well used territories were empty. It was a very similar pattern to 2014 in that the 22 pairs which bred did well, 5.8 the average clutch size (including two clutches of seven eggs), three young produced per breeding pair overall (including failures) and 4.4 per successful pair.

At least three coastal pairs failed at the egg stage due to the severe weather, another probably due to wind farm construction disturbance, peregrine activity put off one pair and the reason for failure could not be ascertained in two cases. Twenty nine young were ringed and were also fitted with red colour rings as part of a countrywide scheme.

The 2015 breeding statistics are as follows :-

For the first time six young, two each from three broods in the main study area, were fitted with satellite tags in their final week prior to fledging. This was accomplished with the assistance of Dave Anderson and Roy Dennis and five different sponsors – see web site for progress reports. This is the first time common kestrels have been satellite tagged in Europe. This work extended the season considerably.

No ringing recoveries were reported this season but a leucistic bird was recorded in Dumfries & Galloway, not three miles from which I ringed three young leucistic birds in June 1990.

GORDON RIDDLE October 2015