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Sunday, 22 February 2015

Owling - A Slow Start to 2015

At the end of my last, rather lengthy, post to this blog, I promised that the next post would be much briefer and be about owls. My owling since then has been rather sparse, partly due to lack of effort in that direction on my part, and partly due to adverse weather. No effort required, therefore, to keep it brief!

My last owly post featured five years of my Little Owl Site No.02. At the back end of 2014, on December 28th, I was fortunate to find one of the owls at No.02 away from the usual building and in a nearby tree.


Little Owl (Athene noctua) - my Site No.02
On 2nd January, both owls were out at my LO Site No.43. The jury is still out on the matter of whether this is a separate site to No.36, or whether it's a favoured roost for the birds from 36. I now think it's probably the latter, although No.34 is closer to No.43 than No.36 is!

Little Owl (Athene noctua) - my Site No.43
Two days later (on 4th January), on my local patch, an owl was out at LO Site No.30.

Little Owl (Athene noctua) - my Site No.30
On 13th January a Little Owl was out on my local patch at Site No.02 at one of its two most favoured locations. I've published many images of this spot, but I still can't resist showing another!

Little Owl (Athene noctua) - my Site No.02
Three days later, again on my local patch, one of the owls was out in full sun at my LO Site No.30

Little Owl (Athene noctua) - my Site No.30
One of my biggest disappointments in 2014 was losing the owls at my roadside LO Site No.44. Titus and I had come to the conclusion that the over-confident male had met with an accident, and the remaining female had eventually wandered off. The last sighting here had been on 28th August. We'd never given up on the site, passing at least once a week to check it out. It was, therefore, quite an emotional time for us both when, on 12th February, we found an owl in the old nest tree. We don't know whether this was the remaining owl returning to check out its old haunt, or a totally new bird. We'll keep an eye on things, but on a strictly 'minimum disturbance' basis - we will not jeopardise re-settlement of the site - so our visits will be reduced to 'an occasional drive-past' basis.

This isn't the best of images, but for me it's the most exciting!

Little Owl (Athene noctua) - my Site No.44 !!!
There was further excitement later that same day when, whilst we were on our way home, a Barn Owl flew along the road towards us. Sadly no photos were obtained. This was my first Barn Owl sighting of the year!

I'll finish off with an image from a trip out with Titus a couple of days ago, on 18th February. It's comparatively rare to find both owls out in the nest tree at my LO Site No.34. They're usually in the nest hole itself, or on a fence post at the edge of the field. So it was good to see the pair out, even if they didn't present themselves well for photography.

Little Owls (Athene noctua) - my Site No.34
That's all for now. The next post will probably be a non-owl, non-garden update, with a clue to some of the content in the header that is current with this post.

Thank you for dropping by.