Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Night Birds During the Day

Kestrel Chick
followed by Tawny Owl [adult & then 2 of young owls]
Small Tortoiseshell, Large Skipper [with mite] &

Today was the first "Introduction to Wildlife Watching" Event at Robert Fuller's Gallery - Robert took 5 participants, whilst I lead the remaining 4. We began by looking at the wild flowers in the car park, which included Orchids, Kidney Vetch, Birdsfoot Trefoil, Meadow Cranesbill, Ox-Eye Daisies, and the leaves of Greater Knapweed. We then went looking for the Tawny Owls, but as the other group had passed that way 10 minutes earlier the young had all been flushed, but we did have excellent views of one of the parents. A Kestrel was present, and we saw a yellowhammer and I heard an alarm call of a Green Woodpecker. We walked down part of the Wolds Way where we saw several species of Butterfly while it was still sunny - Small Tortoiseshell, Ringlet, Small Heath and Large Skipper. There was a Scarlet Pimpernel on the path, and great views of poppies on the hilltops, but the best plants here were the 2 spikes of Toadflax. There were fewer birds singing once the sun went in, but we obtained a close view of a Meadow Pipit, whilst a pair of Willow Warblers were in the same bush. There were plenty of Hares and Rabbits in the area, but we failed to see the Brown Rat, which ran across the road when I was arriving earlier in the morning.
On the return trip to the gallery Robert returned & showed the group the Little Owl pellet, whilst one of the attendees had found some feathers in this area earlier, and Robert confirmed that they had come from a young Little Owl. It is possible that the Tawnies had disposed of rivals in their territory. We had a fleeting view of a Marbled White and a 6-Spot Burnet Moth whilst the banks of flowering thyme amazed the 'students'. Robert led us to a spot where we could crane out necks to try & find 4 young Tawny Owls all clustered together up a sycamore tree. One attendeee had difficulty discerning the owls among all the leaves so Robert returned home for his telescope. On his return everyone enjoyed great views of the birds. As a final climax of the session Robert led us past a Kestrel box, and there was a grey chick sat in the opening - it was a fantastic conclusion of the event for everyone. This was a great occasion to see the owls without having to stay up until nearly midnight!

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