Barn Owls June 2019
2nd June - 6 eggs were laid between between 18th April and 2nd May. Unfortunately it looks like one of them has been cracked, but so far 4 chicks have successfully hatched and they seem to be getting plenty of food so far.
Barn Owls winter 2018
After a succesful breeding season, the barn owls are roosting in the barn owl box during the day. Holiday makers staying in Minsmere or Meadow cottage will be able to keep an eye them via the 'live' camera feed.
Barn Owls April 2018
30th May - there are 3 eggs in the nest box!. We've managed to adjust the camera without disturbing the barn owls. The hen is sitting on 3 eggs at the moment, we're not sure if she is likely to produce any more. She seems to spend all day demanding food from her partner.
11th May - still no sign of any eggs. The barn owls are still in residence in the box and squabbling with kestrels. Unfortunately, one of barn owls has knocked the camera which is now pointing down, so we can't see what is going on at the moment.
29th April. The barn owls are still being harassed by a pair of kestrels whenever they enter or leave the nest box, but they seem well settled in. No sign of any eggs yet, but below is some video of the female working her way through a three course meal. I'm also posting updates to our twitter feed @MinsmereCottage
Unfortunately, our broadband is too slow for a 'live' stream of the barn owls. But I will post videos and pictures when anything interesting happens. You also get updates from our twitter feed @MinsmereCottage
A pair of Barn Owls have recently started roosting in the Barn Owl box in Minsmere Cottage. Over the winter, we installed a camera inside the box so hopefully we will be able to watch their progress over the next few months
Barn Owls 4th July 2017
Carl and Dayne came back to ring the chicks in the barn owl box. They ringed four healthy chicks aged 33, 40, 44 and 46 days old. Unfortunately one of the original five chicks hadn't survived.
Barn Owls 15th June 2017
Carl and Dayne came to check on the chicks in the barn owl box. They found a healthy looking brood of five chicks with 10 to 12 voles in the larder. The chicks were younger than we expected - ranging from about 3 days to 3 weeks old. Most of them were too small to ring at this stage, so Carl & Dayne are coming back to do it in early July. Hopefully some of our holiday makers will be lucky enough to watch it.
Barn Owls 9th June 2017
Barn Owl activity 2017
We're very excited as it looks like the barn owls are back in residence this year. At least one barn owl has been seen going in and out of the nestbox. We think they were deterred by the persistent jackdaws last year but, like in 2015, they seem to be finding a way to share the nestbox with them this year. We will publish an update as soon as we have more news.
Barn Owl chicks 25.6.15
Carl from Suffolk Community Barn Owl Trust came on Friday 26th to check on the barn owl box. There were two healthy chicks who were weighed, measured and ringed. They were calculated to be 34 and 29 days old respectively.
Luckily there were expert photographers staying in both of the cottages and they have kindly provided some great photos of the chicks - see below.
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You will find some more great wildlife pics taken by our visitors on our wildlife pics page
Barn owls update 13.6.15
The male barn owl is continuing to bring food to the nest box, although probably not as frequently as last year. Some windy weather and fewer voles suggests we possibly won't have four fledglings this year. We will find out how many chicks there are in the box the week after next, when Carl is hopefully coming to ring the chicks. Meanwhile Martyn Crookston took these amazing pictures last week - thanks very much Martyn!
Barn owls 2015
After an epic and prolonged battle with the jackdaws, the barn owls are nesting again in the nest box. A truce was eventually agreed, and the barn owls and jackdaws are co-habiting in the box like last year. The jackdaws are using one entrance and the barn owls are using the other.
The male barn owl is stepping up the food runs and we think the eggs have hatched recently. These photos were taken by David Storr a few weeks ago.
Look out for more updates soon.
Barn owls 2014 - what's for dinner, mum?
Our neighbour, Dave took two great pictures of one of the barn owl chicks waiting for dinner. Eventually one of the parents brought a tasty morsel!
Barn Owl chicks
Great news confirmed! Suffolk Wildlife Trust came to check out the nestbox and found four beautiful barn owl chicks in residence. They are between 28 and 35 days old and look healthy and well fed. Carl from the Trust ringed them and estimated they would fledge in mid July.
Barn owls in residence
We thought that the jackdaws had won the battle for the barn owl nest box, but it looks like we now have resident barn owls! A male(?) has been bringing food to the box every evening over the past week.... we'll keep you posted.
BBC Springwatch is coming!
Exciting news, as the BBC announces that its Springwatch programme will be broadcast this year from Minsmere. A new temporary studio has been built at Whin Hill near the Reserve, and the programme starts on Monday 26 May, and continues until 12 June.
Oh to be in Suffolk now that April's nearly here (apologies to Robert Browning)
We've had some beautiful days on Westleton Heath recently, and Spring is definitely here. We still have a couple of weeks free in early July, and in August.
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Daniel Richardson, aged 15, sent us these photos of birds he observed in the garden of Minsmere Cottage last February. Thanks very much Daniel!
From a solitary mournful nightingale singing at night at the beginning of the week, there's now a huge chorus of nightingales singing all over Westleton Common. Lovely to lie in bed and listen to it in the morning - a very pleasant way to be woken up!
If you want to experience it yourself, we still have the cancelled week beginning Sat 11 May in Holly Tree Cottage. Get in touch for details.
Barn Owl box
Birdwatchers spotted outside Waitrose
While shopping at Waitrose in Saxmundham yesterday, we had a brilliant view of a flock of waxwing feeding on berries outside the supermarket, by the fish stall. The birds have apparently drawn quite a crowd over the past few days, and it was nice to be able to watch them from the heated foyer of the supermarket!
Many of our visitors are reporting good sightings of otters at Island Mere, Minsmere. During the recent cold snap, three were seen sliding around on the frozen shallow water close to the hide.
Barn owls and Marsh harriers
Down in Eastbridge today cleaning the cottages, and it seemed that every time I looked out over the garden there were birds clamouring for my attention! Three marsh harriers, two females and a male, circled around the water meadow just beyond the garden fence for ages, and one was still perched in a tree when I left. I also saw a barn owl on four separate occasions. One hunted lazily along the little stream at the end of the garden, then sat on a dead branch close to the fence. Meanwhile on the feeders were flocks of goldfinch, a couple of marsh tits, and plenty of long-tailed tits. In the hedge next to the feeder was a little goldcrest.
No wonder it took me so long to clean....!
Suffolk - a curious county
An interesting leading article in The Guardian on Saturday - Suffolk: curious and curiouser - a county can suffer far worse than being called curious. (28/10/2012)
Welcome to our updated wesite. We are pleased to be able to offer two new cottages, which have just been restored and renovated, and are now available to let. Any feedback about the website, or the cottages, would be welcome. (11.10.12)
Red deer rut
The annual red deer rut is well under way on Westleton Heath, and well worth a visit either early in the morning, or early evening. The males can be heard bellowing all night from the cottage! There are signposts indicating where to park, and where to get a good view of the deer. (7.10.12)
The nightjars returned to Westleton around the 22 May, and several can be heard churring away. We walked over the common around 10pm a few nights ago, and could hear nightingales, nightjar and bitterns all at the same time!(29.5.12)
The nightingales are back! We heard the first one on Saturday 14 April, and now there are quite a few on the common. Their singing is getting louder, especially at night, but they must be wondering why they left Africa for such unseasonable weather in Suffolk! (5.5.12)
Westleton, and in particular the Crown, played host to two royal visitors last weekend; Will and Kate stayed in the Swan Room at the Crown after attending a friend's wedding nearby.They reportedly enjoyed bacon and eggs in the garden conservatory next morning, then left (before the television crew turned up). (5.5.12)
Groups of birdwatchers have been making their way recently down to the bridge at Eastbridge, where a glossy ibis has been making regular appearances, while in the large field opposite Scott's Hall near Minsmere stone curlew, whinchat and ring ouzel have been attracting attention. (5.5.12)
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Barn Owls 2022
Unfortunately, this year the barn owl box has been taken over by jackdaws. Barn owls have occupied the nest for 8 years with the jackdaws living in a separate compartment at the top. Breeding was successful in 7 of those 8 years. Despite a barn owl occupying the nest box this winter, the jackdaws made their move in the spring and they are now sitting on eggs. Hopefully the barn owls will make a comeback next year!
Barn Owls 2021
Barn Owls 2020
The Barn Owls stayed in the nest box throughout winter and produced a clutch of eggs this spring. Unfortunately, the camera got knocked out of position so we couldn't see the eggs or chicks very clearly. At the moment there are two healthy looking chicks in the box, who we hope to see fledging in the next few weeks. If we manage to get any decent photos, we'll post them on the news page and Twitter.