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Monday, 31 October 2011

Rescued From Ignominy - on 30th October, 2011

I've been heading for my worst month of the year for owl sightings, due to a number of factors, the greatest of which was needing to finish off a garden construction project before the bad weather set in. However, the Scottish holiday and variable weather have not helped. Therefore, when the weather looked good yesterday afternoon, I took my leave of my visiting daughter, and headed out for three hours to some of my Little Owl sites.

My first call was at my recently re-discovered LO Site No.03.  Here an owl was visible from the road with its back to me, and between me and the light. I did my usual trick here of walking casually past the tree and then turning round when I'd got past. Unfortunately I'd misgauged my position and the bird was in shadow with the leaves in front of it in sunshine. Whilst I tried to reposition myself it was off.

Little Owl - my Site No.03

Having managed to see where the owl had flown to, I set off to try and pick it up again. As I left the garden I turned round, just as a second owl emerged from the nest hole! It was gone before I had a chance to raise the camera. In the meantime, the first owl had departed unseen. However, all this was exciting for me as I'd only ever seen a single owl here previously.

I next visited my LO Site No.09, where 90% of the time I never see an owl. My luck wasn't any better this time.

Next was LO Site No.17, where an owl was spotted through the barn window, but not photographable.

No owl was seen at my LO Site No.05, but at nearby Site No.06 I found myself being jostled by heifers which was rather distracting, so that I missed seeing one of the owls before it saw me and took flight. I decided to leave it in peace, and head to another of my recently re-discovered sites - my LO Site No.16. This is a bit of a tricky location as both the farmer and his wife are totally in denial that they have owls - presumably they don't want visiting birdwatchers - so I have to watch from the road! It was ironic that whilst she was doing the late afternoon rounds of the farmyard, both resident owls were flying round and calling! However, they stayed at a considerable distance, with light levels so low by now that it was not even worth attempting any photos.

Thus I ended the evening after dark, with only one vaguely usable image 'in the can'. However it had been a great few hours with six owls seen at four sites.

This was the first time I'd been out owling for over two weeks, and then it had only been for a couple of two-hour sessions on my local patch. I did, however, manage a few images - but nothing terribly different to what I have posted before.

Little Owl - my Site No.12 - on 12th October, 2011

Little Owl - my Site No.02 - on 13th October, 2011

Little Owl - my Site No.12 - on 13th October, 2011


  1. Nice post mate, love the image of the LO in the shot sir!

  2. Thank you Paul. I must, however, do better in November - weather permitting!

  3. Looks like a productive session.
    Such expressive faces !
    Interesting about the farmer being seemingly unaware of the owls - we were at a farm " infested " with Little Owls (11 birds seen/heard from 1 spot) but the farmers seemed totally ignorant of them, despite 1 living in a vintage threshing machine at the edge of the yard ! It's echo-ey calling was the trigger that eventually pricked their ears up, having " wondered what that noise was " after living their 40 odd years !
    I guess some farmers are simply just as clueless as some birders ! ;-)

  4. Hi Stevie. Thanks for the comments. In this case I am pretty sure that the farmer just didn't want me (or birders in general) around, as they pointed me at the National Forest land beyond their property and said that there were LOs there which they see from time to time, and that they'd (the farmer) put up a nest box for them which was being used. Seems strange that they've put up a box on NF land!

    Must check out this claim some time but, although it's only a few hundred yards away as the crow flies, it's a good couple of miles away by public access paths!

  5. There's nothing like a good long session Richard - something that I haven't managed for a while now.

    Cracking, varied images Richard. I love the first one - very sharp. The technique is a winner mate!

  6. Thank you Christian. It doesn't always work. Spent another three hours out today, in similar weather conditions - nothing!!


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