At the top of the lane we often see a barn owl - or to be more correct, the farmer often sees it when he goes early in the morning to collect the daily papers. And we know that a barn owl roosts in one of our barns. It may not of course be the same bird but there is no doubt that one roosts there (there is no nest) because it leaves plenty of evidence in the form of owl pellets.
Friend G, who is a volunteer at Foxglove Nature Reserve on Catterick Garrison, collects them now and again and a few weeks ago got quite a haul of very large ones for a class in disecting them. This happened last week and it was most successful. One pellet contained something like the following:
skulls and bones of seven voles, five shrews and two mice. No wonder the barn owl looks such a healthy specimen.
If you want to know more about the Nature Reserve then have a look at Foxglove Covert LNR Blog - there is always a lot of interesting information there. For example, this morning my friend G told me that volunteers have made two rafts to float on one of the ponds, and each morning the rafts are covered in chopped-up apple. Yesterday - only a couple of days after the rafts were floated - they were able to photograph water voles eating on the rafts.