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Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Little Owls near Snarestone on 1st March, 2010

This day I had arranged to meet up with local professional wildlife photographer, Eric Weight, at a farm in Leicestershire where I had found two little owl sites, and which is his 'local patch'. It proved to be a fascinating morning, with sightings of a flock of twelve Snipe, approximately twenty Skylark displaying (the first I've seen this year), fields with numerous Grey Partridge (again the first that I've seen this year), plus good-sized flocks of Yellowhammer and Linnet.

I had previously only got distant shots of Little Owl from both the sites on the farm and so, with Eric we went off to look at my first site. If I had not twice previously seen an owl here, I do not think that we would have seen one at all from the angle we approached at, although it was directly ahead of us. Even when we spotted it, we had to get much closer to be sure that it was an owl, as it was sitting in deep shade on a very sunny day. I have included a couple of distant shots so that you can see what I mean - try clicking on the pictures to enlarge them (and it's still not easy!). I have still only ever seen one owl at this site, and it was to be the same this day.

Little Owl at my Site No. 05

Eric had been on the farm since before 6 a.m. and so he departed at lunch time. I sat in my car and ate my sandwiches before departing for my second site on this farm. There are a couple of noisy gates approximately 100 metres from the nest tree, and as I opened the first I saw an owl move position in the tree. As I opened the second gate a few seconds later (its only 5 metres away) the owl flew up the field - oh dear, a very nervous owl!! I set up my hide rather more distant than I had done on the Saturday (when I'd had no luck at all).

After two hours, I was getting a numb bum (I know what you mean now, Paul!), and had
not seen an owl (or anything else for that matter!) and decided to leave the hide. I took a slow walk up the field, keeping away from the hedge where the owl might be, and then saw an owl about 200 metres away in a tree. Immediately he saw me, he got agitated (even though there was a dense hedge between me and the field in which the tree was), and then disappeared - yes, a very nervous owl!!! I decided to leave him alone and explore the rest of that side of the farm. To get back to my hide, however, I needed to pass close by to where I had last seen the owl - no sign! I got to the next tree (the one nearest the nest tree), and to my amazement the owl was in it. This time he stayed there as I walked right up to the hedge. However, there were a lot of branches in the way as you can see from the images, below.

I decided to look at the tree from the opposite side and hope that the owl would follow me round (as they very often do) and give me a clearer view. I
got round to the other side, and found that it was already round there! But just a minute, that doesn't look like the same owl! This one was sitting in the shade, but allowed me to get close enough for reasonable photos. I then went back to the other side to check that I wasn't being daft, and yes, the other one was still there, so I got shots of them both. However, this was at the end of a seven hour stint on the farm. Now to find that third site on the farm that the farmer thinks there might be!

Little Owl No. 1 at my Site No. 06

Little Owl No. 2 at my Site No. 06


  1. I say old chap, you are becoming a bit of an expert on these little owls, very well done.

  2. I'm glad they were there Richard, you are certainly getting to grips with these guys.
    Very nice to meet you and look forward to seeing more of your images.


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