I'm still trying to shake off the chest and throat virus that I've had for nearly two weeks now, so have not been out except for a few quick runs in the car. Today, however, I'd had enough of staying in, so decided to check up on my most local Little Owls. My usual parking space was fully occupied by two cars (one empty, and one containing two people almost certainly engaged on an illicit liaison), so I parked at the farm, had a chat with the farmer, and tried to find the Little Owls from my latest LO site (No.12). After about an hour, I briefly located one, and grabbed one very distant shot before he/she was off again, into dense and inaccessible foliage. At this point I decided it was time to retreat. I still only have very poor record shots from this site.
(you'll probably need to click on the image to enlarge it in order to find the owl!)
I decided that the courting couple had had long enough, so walked down to my LO Site No.02 (no owl seen - this is where the male was predated by a Sparrowhawk), and then across the fields to my LO Site No.11. Here I set up my hide in the hope that I might get some better images of these owls. However, I gave up after an hour and a half, somewhat concerned that the owls might have moved on as there was a regular flow of Bumblebees in and out of the nest hole.
As the place where I had seen Fox Cubs, a few weeks back, was only a field away, I left my hide by the stile and as I crossed the field I saw that three cubs were out playing on the far side of the thin hedge where their den is. I slowly made my way along the footpath and over the next stile, which was abreast of the cubs, and took a few distant 'safety shots' one of which is shown below.
Having got the safety shots, I went back over the stile, and stealthily made my way up the shady side of the hedge until I came to a gap that I could get through without making a lot of noise - I must have cut the distance between me and the cubs by two thirds. I slowly emerged and, to my amazement, they did not take much notice of me for a few minutes - until I took the camera away from my face, and then they were gone! It was an absolutely magical interlude!