Monday, 5 July 2010

Owls of Delight

All pics with this post (c) 2010 Vince Cowell
Female Barn Owl
Barn Owl Barn Owl
Peek-a-boo Tawny Owl
Tawny Owl [female]
Tawny Owl [female]
Tawny Owl [youngster]
Tawny Owl [youngster]
Tawny Owl [youngster]
Little Owl
Hare [youngster]
Hare [youngster having a stretch]
King Alfred's Cakes
I had sinking feelings about yesterday's 2nd Owl Safari because of the almost gale force winds, which had been with us all day. If I had been in charge I may even have postponed the event, which would have been a mistake. By the time of the climax, the winds had dropped considerably, so my fears were ill-founded. The Kestel failed to perform again in the car park, but at least 4 Tawny Owls were located in the sycamore during daylight - some of them showed really well. A Wych Elm was admired, and the participants will now be able to ID this species of tree. Hopefully, in the next fortnight on windless, sunny days they will check their local one for White-Letter hairstreak butterflies!
We travelled down to the Little Owl area. A young Hare was present on our arrival, and seemed completely oblivious of our presence for several minutes. Robert could hear a Little Owl chick hissing, but it remained concealed. However, 2 adults performed well, and their differences were easily discernible - one was considerably darker than the other. Some King Alfred's Cakes were pointed out to the group, but no one attempted to take them home for later consumption! We saw several Kestrel in the area, and heard & saw Linnets & Yellowhammers, and just as we were getting in our cars Robert heard the alarm call of a Redstart.
Back at the farm the Tawny Owls did show, but they failed to appear en masse in quite the same manner as last week, and seemed a little unsettled. The reason for this became more obvious later on when a female Barn Owl appeared. Although the larger Tawny Owl will often overpower Barn Owls in territorial conflicts, on this occasion they backed down & failed to appear whilst the Barn Owl was tucking in to its evening meal. Once the Barn Owl had swallowed enough food after 11 pm the group set off for home, and it was after midnight when I hit the sack. Please note all of Vince's images were taken in conditions of very limited available light, so their quality is remarkable in the circumstances.

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