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Thursday, 1 December 2011

Too Few, Two Little, Two Short Too Late, Too Bad! - on 30th November, 2011

Too Few? - Well, until yesterday, this November was my worst month since October 2010 for Little Owl sightings. This was partly due to my just not getting out in the field, and partly due to me being distracted by Short-eared Owls (of which I had more sightings in the month than in the whole of my life before!).

Two Little?  - Yesterday the sun was shining and so I took a short break from the building project in my garden. At my local patch I found one Little Owl in the back of a barn - not enough light and too far away for photography. However, I did take a shot of a Pied Wagtail on the barn roof.

Pied Wagtail - my 'local patch'
 At a second site on my local patch I was talking to the farmer when I think I saw a LO depart out of the corner of my eye, but could not relocate whatever it was - so that doesn't count. I then went a mile or so up the road to investigate a possible site, uncovered after I'd seen the Snow Bunting (see earlier post). This resulted in me spotting a departing LO, and positively I/D-ing the nest cavity - my new Little Owl Site No.25! Rather than try and follow up this bird, I had another potential site to investigate and I was running out of time before lunch. However, although there was evidence of owl occupation at this location, no owl was seen. These two LOs meant that it was now only my worst month for sightings since December 2010. On the way home, I put up a Kestrel that had been at the roadside, unseen by me until it took off and landed on a distant post in the adjacent field.

Common Kestrel - near Normanton le Heath
Two Shorts Too Late? - That afternoon I took another break, but the sun went behind the clouds just as I was departing, and stayed that way. I was off to my local Short-eared Owl site. As I arrived I stopped to photograph a Fieldfare in the gathering gloom.

Fieldfare - near Ashby de la Zouch

Two Short-eared Owls did their usual trick of showing just as it was too dark for photography. I only managed just the one 'record image' before they quickly disappeared, and I'm not sure whether it was a third bird that appeared about five minutes later.

Short-eared Owl - near Ashby de la Zouch

By now it was far too dark to contemplate any sort of photography - even if a bird had perched close by. I was also quite cold having been standing in a stiff breeze, so it was time to go home.

Too Bad! - I'd seen four owls (possibly six) and only managed an (only just keepable) image of one of them, but at least I'd found a new site, and it leaves me plenty to work at another day!


  1. You're back on the trail! Nice post richard with a lovely Kestrel image. I'm sure those shorties will start to come out a little when the cold really sets in.

  2. Thank you Christian. I'll keep my fingers crossed. However, the colder it gets, the less I look forward to standing and waiting for hours in what is essentially an exposed place!


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