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Tuesday, 8 January 2013

A Pleasant Surprise! - on 7th January, 2013

The day was a bit dull, but it wasn't overly windy, so I made for my local patch. My main objective was to tick the box for the New Year at my Little Owl sites. Over the last four years I've had seven Little Owl sites on my local patch. However, I consider four of these to be pretty-much 'sterile' now.

I parked my car by my Site No. 02, and sat and waited for a while. Nothing happened, so I set off on foot for site No.12, where I drew a blank also. On my return to the car, I saw that one of the owls was now out at 02.

Next I was off to a relatively new site for me - No.30. This is a good half an hour walk from the nearest road (but still on the same farm). Going was tough as there was a lot of lying water in the fields that I had to cross. I'm not sure if I saw an owl or not at No.30 - out of the corner of my eye I caught a movement in the entrance to a hole. I hung around a while, but to no avail, and started sinking deeper into the mud - time to go!

In trying to find a slightly drier route back, I passed within a couple of hundred metres of my site No.11. I've not seen an owl here since the summer of 2010, when the nest cavity was taken over by bees! But, hang on!!! That's an owl sitting in the entrance to the nest cavity!!

I did my usual nonchalant approach - it's my experience that owls aren't usually too worried if they don't think you've seen them, so I walk past at some distance (not looking as I do so) then turn and walk back past, but a little closer this time, and so on. I've found that if I turn to look with my camera in front of my eyes they tend not to think you're looking at them. I got to within about 15 metres of this bird, took about 60 frames from several different positions, and left with the bird still sitting there! That always gives me the greatest satisfaction.

Little Owl - my Site No.11
Below is an image of the owl at Site No.02 that I took before I went off on my adventures. Again, I approached, on foot, to within about 15 metres, and the owl was still there when I left. 

Little Owl - my Site No.02
I'm finding that I'm currently a bit torn between: (1) trying to visit as many existing sites as possible to check on the current situation and clock up the owl count, or (2) covering new ground (or old ground that's gone 'sterile') in the hope of finding new owl sites whilst the leaves are off the trees, or (3) spending more amounts of time at a few chosen sites in the hope of some half-decent images. At the moment my inclinations are probably leaning towards option (1). But the weather will probably influence  whatever I do!!


My last post featured a number by The Artwoods. That band featured two musicians (other than Art Wood) who were to make a name for themselves - Jon Lord on keyboards and Keef Hartley on drums. John Lord was most famous for being the 'main man' in Deep Purple, whilst Keef Hartley had a spell playing for John Mayall before forming the the Keef Hartley Band

The following is my favourite track from the Keef Hartley Band album 'Halfbreed', and one of my favourite blues numbers of all time! Until recently I believed that the dramatic guitar solo was primarily the work of Miller Anderson, but I now believe that Spit James took the solo guitar work whilst Miller did the vocals.


  1. Oh, well done, getting the Little Owl. And it's glance, you are the one. Beautiful camera work.

  2. WOW!
    Shot N°2 is just perfect and exquisite!
    What I would give to get shots like these!!
    And such a cute face too!
    Brilliant, you can publish more of those!
    You new header also is magnificent!

    1. Thank you Noushka. Those Little Owls have so much character! Found a new LO site today, but no worthwhile images from it - yet!!

  3. Three very nice images. I like number two in it's tree, good fieldcraft, well done. As for the three options you listed Richard I would actually do all three. Just keeping switching between the three, prevents "stagnation" if you know what I mean.

    1. Thanks Doug - sounds like good advice to me!!

  4. And, love the Keef Hartley Band.

    1. Good to hear that Bob. Halfbreed is one of my cherished albums - I have it on vinyl and CD.

  5. Top-notch field craft Richard! You certainly did get close! I'd go for option three, but that's just my obsessive streak rearing its head again (or so my wife says).

    1. Thank you Christian. Options 2 and 3 are, I now realise, connected. I don't have too many existing sites that are good photographically, and many of them require a long trek on foot. Those that are fairly good I've pretty-well done to death already, so I guess there's an incentive to find some better sites!

  6. Hi there - great pictures of a splendid bird! I have a very clear memory of seeing one on a post on the Somerset levels when I was on an A Level biology field trip - it was the day I learned the limitations of a 50mm lens!

    Cheers and thanks for linking to WBW.

    Stewart M - Melbourne

    1. Thank you Stewart. It's been said that Little Owls are in decline in UK. However, they seem to be doing OK in these parts, although far from numerous compared to a couple of decades ago.

      Have added a permanent link to your site under the 'Blogs I Follow' banner on the right of my blog.


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