Sunday, 29 March 2015

Whose Pellet is it Anyway?

Found on the lawn under our largest willow...

There were four or five of these pellets in an area about a metre square and having found them, I downed tools and took up tweezers and a magnifier along with a bowl of water and this is what came out of one pellet...

And on even closer inspection...

There were also these smaller particles..

And now for the question... Whose pellet is this anyway?

We've seen the buzzard in this particular willow in the past...???

Any ideas. (I.Ds) please?

Thank you to Tim and Susan for help with IDs. 

Tim asks for close ups of the jaws, so, working from left to right off photo 3, row 2  (above), here goes:

And the skulls: Row 4, second from left:

Row 4, third left:

We have found 2 fresh pellets this morning under the next willow along in the garden

8 comments:

Jean said...

Someone with a good appetite!
However, your Sunday afternoon pastimes are beginning to have me worried - collecting and inspecting the contents of poo...........??!

Susan said...

The victims are all voles by the look of it, and my guess would be barn owl. Tim or Pauline are likely to have the best idea though. Amazing how much is packed into one pellet!

Colin and Elizabeth said...

The problem there, Jean, is that I've only given you half the afternoon's activity.... See your baking blog comments for the other half!!

Thanks for the comments, Susan. I was amazed at the quantity too, and at the size, which is what made us wonder if it could be buzzard. The one I dissected was slightly larger than the one containing the bone fragments.

LaPré DelaForge said...

Colin and Elizabeth....
I have got guides to the fragments...
and I would need, especially the jawbones and skulls... please.

It is also a job for your trail camera...
that would identify the type of owl...
they are owl pellets...

Buzzard pellets never contain complete skulls and bones... their beaks make short work of such as does their stronger digestion and you get no real fragments... they usually consist mainly of fur.
Buzzard pellets are also 8 to 10cm long...

Little owl is out... far too big!

Barn owl pellets are in this size range... but usually much shinier than this... unless very old...

The most likely suspects in my book are either Tawny or Long-eared Owls... but the latter usually leave grey pellets...
so I suspect a Tawny Owl who is roosting there during the day...
or comes at night to feed.

At this time of year they may have a nest in the vicinity...
so these are just his, or hers...
although the book says that he takes food to her, our trail camera has shown that our female has a fly around in the early part of the night between eight and nine PM.

I'm with Susan on voles with the jaws you showed...
but the lower jaw third from left looks like a Bank Vole from the shape of the hinge and muscle attatchments and the length of the inscisor... the others could be of any... with all I need to get good pictures of the surface of the teeth to distinguish species...
they all differ!!

The prescence of the pellets needs to be recorded on Faune Touraine.

GaynorB said...

No idea, but I knew that your help would come from Tim or Susan. They are the first people I would turn to.
I'll be interested in the final outcome.

Colin and Elizabeth said...

Thanks to all for your comments. We will, as you say, record the pellets on Faune Touraine, Tim. I will also add some close ups of the surface of the teeth - in the morning!

LaPré DelaForge said...

Get that Ltl Acorn out there!!
NOW!!

Fresh pellets means someone is present regularly... and must be nesting nearby.

Were the pellets very shiny, almost varnished?

I will look at pix later, thanks for sending them.

Sarah said...

Save me a few pellets I can see a fantastic afternoon in my classroom ahead!!!!!