Thank you to all those who contacted me regarding the pellets and the mystery visitor in the barn. It has turned out to be a male kestrel. Some conservationists at the Barn Owl Trust had a look at my photos and said kestrel and I phoned the Hawk & Owl Trust. They put me in touch with their kestrel expert, Nigel Lewis, who kindly rang me. He also confirmed my suspicions that I had a kestrel roosting. He told me that kvestrelswill often have a regular night roost and in the morning, they will expel a pellet made up of the last day’s meals. This is what I found a pile of. This has been a regular roost for a while I think.
I had been wondering whether I should put my second kestrel box up in the barn rather than the planned tree. Nigel explained that it is critical to have suitable branches nearby to the nest box. There is a period just as the youngsters fledge, where they clamber out of the box and need branches to climb and sit on as they acclimatise to their new surroundings and begin flying. If there is nowhere like this, then they often fall to the ground and perish. The barn would have no such perches, so it looks like the tree is the best option still.
I have the camera sorted in it now… just need to get the darn thing up into the position. If the winds are anything like today, then this weekend is not going to be suitable. This box should be up now… the male kestrels will be sussing out suitable nesting spots and some may have even chosen a nesting place by now. I hope this one hasn’t yet!