After Surrey saw some snow last week, the participants of Pierrepont’s Saturday Safari Club braved the cold weather to help some of the wild residents on the farm and in their gardens at home. We made a selection of mini bug houses and bird feeders, including some pretty teacup feeders for the more ‘fancy’ birds!
Hours of fun was had at last month’s Saturday Safari Club, as the group enthusiastically dissected some Barn Owl Pellets that had been found on the farm.
This Summer, Pierrepont was lucky enough to have a pair of Barn Owls nest and rear young in one of our barns. Once all the young Owls had fledged the pellets that they had produced were collected from underneath the nest.
As Owls swallow their prey whole, they produce pellets made up of the indigestible fur and bones of the small mammals that they have been eating. These pellets are regularly coughed up, and although they can be tricky to find, they are often found in large numbers under regular roosting or nesting sites. Dissecting these pellets can give us a good idea about the diet of these animals.
Our young naturalists enjoyed discovering the hundreds of tiny bones inside each of their pellets. They worked hard to try to identify the different animals that had made up the Owl’s dinner and some even tried organise the different types of bones, and put all the pieces of the jigsaw together to make a complete skeleton (with a little help from the grown ups, who seemed to have just as much fun!)
Thank you to everyone who took part in Pierrepont’s Conservation and Wildlife Monitoring morning on Tuesday. Together you recorded 140 pond creatures and identified them as 11 different species, including Newts, Dragonfly Nymphs and a whopping 80 Pond Snails. We also did a hedgerow survey, gathering data about the species of plants and invertebrates making up a sample section of hedgerow on the farm. Finally, after a lot of hot work digging holes and gathering wood, we made a fantastic new habitat for Stag Beetles. The UK’s largest native terrestrial beetle is declining due to the loss of it’s favourite habitat…dead wood. Hopefully this stunning new home will attract a new Stag Beetle family!