A pair of Barn Owls have successfully bred at Gosforth Nature Reserve (GNR) for the first time since the 1970’s. Their return marking the welcome resurgence of this iconic species in the heart of Newcastle and delighting many visitors to the reserve throughout the summer.
Local ornithologists and British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) ringers, Philip Jordan and Jane Gray, have monitored the pair tirelessly since their discovery and have confirmed that the birds successfully raised four chicks at the reserve this season. Great news for a species which in the not too distant past was encountered regularly on site.
What makes the return of owls to the reserve truly remarkable is the story of the female, known as GV92583. Information sourced by ornithologist, Phil Hanmer suggests GV92583 has made an incredible journey to reach GNR – travelling 320 km from Cambridgeshire where she was ringed as a nestling last July.
The owls are the latest in a string of species to return to Gosforth Nature Reserve following the resurgence of Red Squirrel and red-list Willow Tit in 2018, and Water Vole in 2019. These species are supported by conservation work carried out by a small army of dedicated NHSN volunteers and with the creation of a new management plan to protect the reserve’s wildlife for years to come, it is our hope that they will thrive long into the future.
Gosforth Nature Reserve is open again for you to enjoy. Lucky visitors to the reserve may encounter Barn Owl right across the site, with previous sightings from the Pearce and Ridley Hides and others catching sight of the adults hunting over the nearby fields. The reserve is currently open to NHSN members only to limit contact between volunteers and visitors. You can find out more and plan your visit here.