Wild Roseland Wild Roseland 2020

Wild Roseland – April 2020

Last November I asked for anyone with an interest in owls if they would like to take part in a survey of Barn Owl roosting sites on the Roseland, and that specific data would be treated as anonymous and confidential. This would give us a baseline for assessing the likelihood of potential breeding pairs following the winter.

I am delighted to report that 18 Roseland residents volunteered to take part, for which many thanks. They have provided me with various sightings of single or two Barn Owls and with regular information on roosting ever since.

As the winter months progressed, I grew quite despondent for the chances of survival of any Barn Owls because of the continually wet and windy days. Barn Owls need dry weather to hunt for voles and rodents. Their feathers are not very waterproof, and that, combined with the difficult hunting weather, led me to believe that many would not survive.

I read that in different parts of the country they were suffering, some being picked up, emaciated, down in body weight by up to two thirds.  A well-fed healthy Barn Owl should weigh around 650 grams and some of those being found were being recorded at about 250 grams!

However, it appears that our Roseland Barn Owls are surviving. I have some recent reports of pairs being seen out hunting. At each site I have visited we have been collecting regurgitated pellets, evidence of that successful hunting. Some visits have been particularly productive too, with evidence of occupation by two owls at some six sites being quite promising at this stage! But I feel sure there are more.

Listen now in April as these wonderful birds make their night-time screeching mating calls and threatening high pitched purring as they aggressively defend their territories!

If you are interested in participating in the Barn Owl survey, please email hallruan@aol.com or phone 01872 501429.

Separately, Wild Roseland working with Cornwall Wildlife Trust are hoping to hold a day workshop on Thursday 21st May to provide training to identify key indicator species of natural grassland habitats. The workshop will only run if it can comply with the current Government COVID 19 advice.

Those who have already put their names down to do the grassland survey in the summer already have places reserved for them.

If you would like to take part in the summer survey or just increase your knowledge of grassland habitat then this could be for you.

There are less than ten places available and they will be offered on a first come first served basis, priority being given to those who would also like to take part in the summer grassland survey.

For more information or to secure a place on the workshop contact Graham Webb emailgwhillside@btinternet.com

Date for your lockdown diary!  International Dawn Chorus Day is Sunday 3rd of May.  To enjoy, just listen through your bedroom window around 5.00am and estimate how many species you can hear and recognise. There are lots of apps online to help. I find that particularly useful are UK Birds Sounds For Free or British-birdsongs.uk or the RSPB website, each of which will help you with identification.

Upcoming Wild Roseland Walks and Talks – dates for your diary

Note that all events are free but a small donation of £3 would be welcomed.

CANCELLED: Dawn Chorus Walk Sunday 3rd May, 4.45am
I am sorry to say that the Dawn Chorus walk planned for Sunday, 3rd May at 4.45am commencing at Melinsey Mill car park and proceeding down Melinsey valley will not now take place following the Government’s COVID 19 advice with regard to social distancing.


Article by David Hall. Edited by Tara Robinson.

Wild Roseland is a group of volunteers who care passionately about looking after the nature and landscape of the Roseland peninsula in south Cornwall. Through a number of initiatives and projects, the aim is to inspire and enhance the conservation of this special place for all.

Image credits:

Owl box: David Hall

Barn owl x 2: Tara Robinson

Leave a Comment