Golden oldies 

So this week saw us mixing with some great conservationists and I’m going to call them the ‘Golden Oldies’ but I mean this respectfully as thats what we have the utmost respect for them!

Monday night we went to watch fellow Gloucestershire Raptor Monitoring Group member Steve Watson deliver a fantastic talk on Peregrine falcons to the Stockport branch of the RSPB. The talk as expected was fantastic, brought to life by fantastic images, unique footage and fantastic anecdotes from a bloke that has spent no less than 30 + years watching Peregrine falcons at Symonds Yat and surrounding areas (I think 30 + yrs makes him nearly a Golden oldie). His detailed data on the productivity, location and individual birds was a great example of first class field work.

The main man ready to share his Peregrine experiences and knowledge


This was well received by a fantastic turn out of 100 or so people but what was noticeable was I don’t think one of the 100 individuals in the audience were under 50 years old! This is scary, where’s the younger generation stepping up to take on the Peregrine conservation baton? It can’t of been the subject as Peregrines are the ferrari’s of the bird of prey world – the Top Gun! Maybe it was the location or timing, a Monday evening in Stockport’s Masonic Hall might not sell it to juniors or their parents to chaperone them or maybe the group need to realise their audience demographic needs a re focus? 

Wednesday saw us out with the Broxton Barn Owl Group replacing old barn owl boxes. We play an active role monitoring barn owl boxes on behalf of the BBOG so it was great to get out and help the group in the field. Check out the pictures below for how the boxes are put up, do you notice anything about the average age of some of the group – more golden oldies.

Chatting to Bernard this is something he is very conscious of, the group is short of young blood to slowly take over the mantle of protecting some of Cheshire Barn owls. Maybe Raptor Aid needs to develop some iniatives to encourage junior participation in local conservation groups! What you can do is get the kids outside and interested in not just birds of prey but the natural world, if they show that spark then keep encouraging and find your local conservation group! 

The team loading the boxes

One of the boxes which lasted over 10 years in great habitat

Lifting the pole to change the box – BBOG use reclaimed telegraph poles for siting there boxes

Fixing the new box – team work makes the dream work apparently

Once up and in the ground it’s important to compact the ground well so the pole doesn’t start to lean in wet weather

Sometimes new holes need to be dug – a big hole requires a big tool, a four man auger!!

Bernard taking all important locations down for any new box sites

The most important tool of the day!


Thanks again to Steve for his great talk, Stockport RSPB for hosting it and the Broxton Barn Owl Group golden oldies for a great day in the field!