Barn owl boxes

The past few weeks, I’ve been busy putting up lots of bat boxes around both Awnells Farm and Turnastone Court Farm, deciding on new transect routes for bee, butterfly and reptile counts, as well as putting up trail cameras. 

The barn owl boxes have been gradually going up at Turnastone – I’ve had to wait for a break in the wet and very windy weather (which I’m coming to realise is no mean feat in the Herefordshire countryside).

We have not had barn owls at Turnastone before, so this is a fantastic project, hopefully welcoming a new species to the farm, all able to happen because someone had left the CRT a gift in their Will. Thanks to a £1,000 legacy, we purchased new barn owl nest boxes and the ladder, drill and other essential items for me to install them.

Donate to our appeals How to leave a legacy

Recent Sightings

While preparing for upcoming surveys, I have already made several great sightings on the farms. My recent sightings include:

Female hairy-footed flower beeMale hairy-footed flower bee
Buzzard overlooking the sheep graze in the
orchard, Turnastone Court Farm
Tawny owl

I’ve also been lucky enough to see a tawny owl perched inside one of the barns at Turnastone twice now, so I’ve put a camera up in the hope of getting some good images. Fingers crossed, I have some owl footage soon!

Natural honeybee Hive in Awnells main orchard

Last week, I observed a tree hole in Awnells main orchard, the entrance to which had been unusually scratched as if something was trying to break inside.  After waiting a while, I saw a female (worker) honeybee fly straight through the hole and into the hollow tree.  I shined my torch inside and couldn’t bee-lieve it - I’d found a natural honeybee hive of a feral colony! (Having never seen one in the wild before, even though it’s not rare, I was very excited.) The scratched and broken bark around the entrance was possibly made from other animals trying to access the honey or the bees.

Reptile Refugia

Along the survey paths I have established for my reptile monitoring, I have placed reptile refugia in strategic locations Turnastone Court Farm and Awnells Farm. Using reptile refugia in transects increases the chance of finding reptiles that inhabit the local area.

A ‘refugia’ is an area in which a species can survive through a period of unfavourable conditions. Artificial reptile refugia are typically made from corrugated lightweight and waterproof material that absorb and trap heat, providing species with a way to gain warmth while also protecting them from predation and disturbance.

I need volunteers to help with surveys and our new projects in Herefordshire. If you can spare a few hours per month to benefit wildlife, register your interest below.

Register your interest

Ruth Moss
Herefordshire Wildlife Monitor