I have a relatively new Little Owl site (my site No.11) where I could do with some better images. At this time of year, the females are sitting tight on the eggs, and the males are keeping guard. They seem to become much more nervous, and their first reaction on spotting 'an intruder' is to try and draw the intruder away by flying off to a distant tree. It is, therefore, useful to try and get there before the owl emerges. The past couple of times I have visited, the owl has been sat on the edge of the nest hole, and has spotted me and disappeared when I've been a field and a hedge away! To get to this site, I have to park beside another of my sites (No.2), and walk across a few fields. As I approached my parking space, I kept my eyes open for No.2 male on his usual perching place - no sign - and then as I stopped he flew up from the wall right beside where I had stopped! I've never seen him so close to the road before. That'll teach me not to be complacent! I set off to Site No.11 and the LO was not visible, so I went back to my car for my hide, and spotted No.2 male on a telegraph wire (never seen a LO on a wire before), but then flew to the nearby telegraph pole. I managed to grab a few distant shots before he was off again, even further away.
I then set off across the fields, to see if I could set up my hide before the male Little Owl at my Site No. 11 emerged. However, as I approached I noticed a fox at the far side of the next field. Watching it through the bins, it seemed to have something in its mouth - I couldn't resist investigating. The footpath made an acute angle with the direct line to the fox, so I managed to get about 20% of the way across the field before it made off, empty-mouthed. I then thought that I'd try and find out what it was eating. On the way (in no hurry because the fox had gone) I stopped to take some shots of my first Small Copper of the year. I could not find whatever the fox had in its mouth but suddenly noticed some movement beside the hedge ahead of me - it was fox cubs!! They quickly disappeared into a hole by the hedge. I abandoned the thought of my little owls and set up my hide at a distance from the hole. They were, as you might expect, very cautious and did not fully emerge again, but they kept coming out to look at me. They did look extremely cute! It was only when I came to look at my pictures taken of the dog Fox that I noticed that the cubs had been out playing under the hedge, only about 5 metres from him, when I first spotted their dad!
After the foxes, I ambled off to the next farm, where I know there are Barn Owls. I have the farmer's permission to explore here. No barn owls were seen, but a Little Owl flew out of a barn as I rounded the corner. I'm not sure if this is the male from the site where my car was parked, 300 metres away, or whether I've found site No.12! He seemed pale, like the one from site No.2, but then I only got a quick view (and no pics) before he disappeared. I shall possibly go back tonight and investigate further.