I've been rather busy over the past week or so, filling in the huge hole that was, until recently, my koi pond. I've already broken up, collected, brought back home, and barrowed into the hole about 5 tons of rubble. At my age, this is tiring work so, even if I've had the time, I've felt too knackered to go out owling. However, by Wednesday afternoon I was suffering withdrawal symptoms and decided to do something about it. The awful wet and windy weather had abated, and so I decided to go to my LO site No.18 near Oaks in Charnwood. No owls were in sight when I arrived, and so I set up my hide facing one of the three entrances to the nest cavity in the nest tree, and sat and waited. After three hours nothing had been seen - which is not surprising really as it was nice and warm and comfortable in my hide, and I kept dozing off!!! The result was that I went home still not having seen any owls!
Clearly something had to be done about this, so on Thursday I started by a quick visit to my local patch. Here I did at least find two Little Owls (an adult and a juvenile) at my Site No.02.
|Little Owl (juvenile) - my Site No.02|
A visit to nearby Site No.12 didn't yield any owls, but I offer a couple of images from a visit a week previously when I was fruit-picking here.
|Great Spotted Woodpecker (male) - by my LO Site No.12|
I'd planned a few visits after my local patch, the next of which was at my LO Site No.17, near Twycross. On arrival I missed seeing a Little Owl that was in a dense shrub, until it flew from beside me when I was only 10 feet (3 metres) away. I'm not used to seeing Little Owls in places where they'd struggle to find a perch amongst the tangle of branches, so hadn't even given this bush a second glance.
I set up my hide in front of the nest barn and waited. The situation was not ideal as the sun is only on this aspect early in the morning, and at this time of the afternoon the sun is only about 40 degrees from dead ahead, so the results on a relatively colourless barn are, themselves, rather colourless. It was only about half an hour before an owl appeared. I didn't see it arrive as I'd taken my eyes off the barn for a few seconds to survey the posts to the right of the hide. I'm not sure, therefore, whether it emerged from the barn or had arrived from outside although, by its position I suspect the latter.
|Little Owl - my Site No.17|
It had me spotted immediately, but after a few glances it completely ignored me, spending most of its time peering at the ground and acting as if it would drop to the ground in front of me at any time.
|Little Owl - my Site No.17|
I sat patiently, hoping for some shots of the bird in a different location, but taking the odd shot as it adopted different poses in the same location. Eventually, however, it started to nod off.
I'd just made my mind up that it was time to move on to another location, when the owl woke up again and started to look more active. Perhaps this was going to be my opportunity!
After I'd been about three hours in my hide, the owl eventually decided that it wanted another kip and retreated into the roof space a little to a more comfortable position.
I was pleased to realise that I'm not the only dozy one around, and took my opportunity to emerge from my hide unseen, and pack it away.
My plans to stay out until dark were thwarted by a call to say that a landscape gardener was coming to see me at home at 18.30. I'd not yet had my picnic tea and it was time to be headed towards home. I decided to eat my sandwiches sitting in the car opposite my LO Site No.16 where I'd recently rediscovered the owls. Whilst I was there one emerged onto a roof about 100 yards (100 metres) away, so only a distant heavily cropped image obtained.
|Little Owl - my Site No.16|
OK, so not the greatest variety of images obtained in the afternoon, but at least I satisfied my need to see an owl or two!