Bluestone Nature Update

By Kathryn Slade Cuckoo Flowers

A home for a Barn Owl

Last year our ranger Rob Mackeen noticed a barn owl down at Blackpool Farm.

He put a barn owl box up. Our new wildlife cameras picked up that we have two owls. The owls are getting along together very well. We’re hoping to get some owlets to show you!

The breeding cycle often starts in late winter and by early spring pairs are usually spending much of their time at their intended nest place. Most pairs engage in mutual preening and cheek rubbing as part of courtship and pair-bonding.

Our tussocky grass alongside the eastern boundary is ideal for voles and field mice. A Barn Owl will typically eat 3-4 prey items a night. During the breeding season, a pair of Barn Owls will (ideally) find this amount for each owlet as well. This works out to almost 4,000 prey items a year to feed a pair and their offspring!

Barn Owl

Wild about flowers

We’ve decided to stop cutting the grass on our former driving range. We’ve got woodlands, we’ve got tussocky grass fields loved by our voles and owls. But we thought we could do more for bees, other insects and our bats and birds.

Bluestone resort was a dairy farm. The grass is lush and rich from generations of farming and fertiliser. Rich soil isn’t the best for a rich diversity of flowers. We hope over the years to get a richer mix of grasses and flowers. In amongst the daisies and dandelions we’ve already got ladies smock or cuckoo flower growing. In years gone by it would have been mown or munched down.

We didn’t want to plough the field up and start again. So this is a project requiring patience. Hay will be taken off twice a year.

Some of our wilder areas are the most interesting for plants, insects particularly bees, birds and bats. Martin is sowing some wild grasses and wild flower seeds around our administration block too and we can’t wait to take a photo at the end of the summer!

More Pembrokeshire Wildlife