I am delighted to have been able to bring you this wonderful live camera on a kestrel nest box in the grounds of Stow Maries Great War Aerodrome, in Essex. Now the chicks have fledged, we have moved the camera onto a perch that they regularly use.
Working with Denis Stretton and the Birdsy cameras, we have experimented with a range of set-ups to try to bring some unique live cameras online. The kestrel pair have nested here for numerous years and this is the 1st year a cam has been on this wonderful nest site. Denis has worked incredibly hard to get this camera mounted on a tall pole and is using solar panels to provide power for the router and the cam.
The grounds at Stow Maries provide perfect, unspoiled habitat for all manner of wildlife, due to the fact that it lay dormant for 100 years after WW1, allowing the wildlife to flourish. I have visited & photographed the amazing wildlife there on a number of occasions. The vast majority of the site is open grassland with woodland and although it has no statutory designation, it is home to many species of fauna and flora including all five species of British owls, a rarity in one location, as well as the 22 red listed birds, which have been sighted. Stow Maries Great War Aerodrome works in partnership with Natural England to improve and manage their ecology. As participants in their Entry and Higher level Stewardship schemes, the site work to carefully manage the site to get the very best habitats for the wildlife there.
Kestrels seen mating nearby
Regular visits to the box and food deliveries, by the male to the female.
Egg 1 laid: April 1st
Egg 2 laid: April 3rd
Egg 3 laid: April 5th
Egg 4 laid: April 7th
Egg 5 laid: April 9th
Egg 6 laid: April11th
The adults will incubate the 6 eggs for 27-29 days, at which point we should see the new chicks start to hatch.
Eggs started to hatch on the 6th May
Three chicks successfully fledged.
Kestrel YouTube Playlist
Kestrels tend to breed around April and early May.
The female is the streaky barred, brown individual. She lays the eggs at two-day intervals, and usually starts to incubate as she lays the third egg. Incubation takes 27-29 days, which means the eggs will hatch over a period of a few days. The chicks require constant brooding for the first 10-14 days, so the female will be seen in the box.
The male has a slate grey head and a chestnut spotted back. He provides the female and the chicks with food throughout the nesting period. This consists mainly of mice and voles at this site, with the occasional bird and lizard. This pair are sometimes also offered small amounts of supplementary food by Denis.
The chicks fledge gradually when they are around four weeks old. They explore increasing distances from the nest, but return to it to roost for another couple of weeks. Adults continue to feed the young for a month after fledging, during which time they will learn to catch their own food.