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Friday, 12 March 2010

Little Owls at Staunton Harold, on 11th March, 2010

In the afternoon I had an appointment with the Staunton Harold Estate Manager, so that I could be given a pass to explore the estate for owls. I arrived a bit early, so went to check on my most recently found Little Owl site. I couldn't find a bird in the tree that I originally saw one in, but as I headed off to keep my appointment, I saw a LO in a nearby tree. I hadn't got the camera with me, so no shots.

After my meeting, armed with my new permit and my camera, I set off back to my site - but the owl was not where I'd left it - time to explore! Having negotiated the electric fence, as I walked round the tree nearest the tree that I'd earlier spotted the owl in, I saw her (I currently believe it was a female LO) and she saw me - just time to bang off a quick shot before she departed hurredly.

Little Owl (believed to be female)

I decided to leave well alone, and have a wander round some more of my newly found patch, identifying a few more places to investigate, before returning about half an hour later to the owl site - there was the owl in the tree that I'd first seen it in that afternoon. This time I was able to take many photos without disturbing the bird, just by moving around very slowly. For much of the time it was not even looking at me.

I thought that this seeking-out of Little Owls was increasing my powers of observation, but now I'm not so sure. It was only when I got home and started processing the 150 or so images that I'd taken that I realised that the bird was holding a vole!! I'd noticed that its beak seemed orange rather than the usual yellow, but hadn't associated that with the possibility that it was bloody!! I now also feel quite certain, working on patterns on the head, that this was a different bird to the one that had flown earlier, and that this was a male (judged by body shape).

Little Owl (believed to be male)

On the way back to my car, I stopped to take a few shots of some of the birds on the lake. Unfortunately, the Little Grebe was too distant for any useable shots.

Pochard (drake)

Pochard (female)



  1. I enjoyed looking at your lovely pictures of your Little Owls:-)

  2. Super images Richard, looks like you had a really enjoyable day.


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