Annual Report 2016

The last two weeks of March and first week of April had mixed weather, the ground finally drying out after a wet late winter. Initially fourteen territories checked revealing one definite pair and one single bird. It did not look promising and so it turned out. By the beginning of May there was no pick up in the season despite full coverage. Constant vacant territories, 37 checked with 48% occupied, three with single birds. Seven clutches were found averaging 4.6 eggs of which 72% hatched.

Eventually 17 results were recorded with extremely poor productivity. The biggest broods fledged were two of four young and no less than ten were of either three or two young. In addition five breeding attempts failed all at the pre laying or clutch stage. Survival at the brood stage was high as usual. The pattern of low productivity has been consistent since 2010 when 3.8 young per breeding pair were produced. This pattern of low occupation and poor productivity fits in with data from across Scotland (latest BBS figures show 62% reduction of kestrel pairs).

The 2016 breeding statistics are as follows :-

It is worth noting that there was little or no sign of vole activity on the ground and at none of the nests were there spare vole bodies cached. Interestingly buzzard numbers seemed to be down this year too with few kestrel territories occupied by this species.

Only 13 young were ringed (with colour rings as well as aluminium) and for the second year six young kestrels were fitted with satellite tags, this time at two adjacent territories on the coast south of Girvan. See website for progress reports.

GORDON RIDDLE September 2016