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Wednesday, 23 January 2013

It Was Worth It !! - on 21st January, 2013

On Monday I just couldn't face another day of staying in, just staring out of the window, in spite of all the bird activity in the snow in our garden, so I jumped into the Smart and set off for my local patch.

I started by a visit to my Little Owl Site No.12, and the farmyard. Other than a flock of twenty or so Yellowhammer which were sheltering in a barn, virtually nothing was seen. As I headed back towards the gate my right leg went from under me on the ice, and I hit the deck. Fortunately I had my camera in my hand as I fell, and managed to give it a bit of a 'flick' just before it too hit the deck. It seems that I managed to reduce the impact enough that no damage was done, and I suspect that the camouflage covers that I have on the lens helped matters as they are lightly padded - the main reason I bought the covers in the first place! I was also fortunate that I'd not fallen a few metres earlier as I'd been wading through rather smelly slurry from the cattle pens - where I fell it was bone-dry!

I gingerly picked my way along the ice-covered road to my LO Site No.02. There was no sign of an owl, and the snow round where the owls usually emerge was undisturbed - not a good sign, even a little worrying!

I then set off across the fields to view my recently re-inhabited Site No.11. There was undisturbed snow round the entrance hole here too. By now I was realising that I'd damaged my knee in the fall, and was in some discomfort, and so decided to head back for home.

As I approached Site No.02 for the second time I noticed that one of the owls was out. I must have spent a good ten minutes wandering around taking photos, and it stayed put, seemingly totally undisturbed by my presence. You can see from the strange (2nd) image which is taken from virtually underneath the owl that it wasn't even bothering to look at me. And it was still in the same place when I left.





Little Owl - my Site No.02
As my car was parked by the farm, I paid a second visit to the farmyard, but still nothing exciting seen, so I started back home in the car on the single-track road from my patch. I was taking it very slowly (probably only 5mph/8kph) and just starting to go up a rise in the road when this 4x4 pickup with 'truckman' type top came shooting round the bend at an estimated 30-40 mph (48-64 kph). He didn't stand a chance of stopping as he was on ice on a downhill slope. He missed my Smart by about six inches as he ended up in the hedge beside me! Sadly, there was no visible damage to his vehicle, and he managed to extricate himself with little bother - I hope he learnt a lesson, however! If this seems harsh, after I got under way again, I came across a walker, and then two cyclists, that he had passed just before encountering me. If either of these had been in the location that I'd been in they'd have probably slipped over in trying to get out of the way, and who knows what the outcome would have been! It reinforced my belief that, no matter how careful you are, it's the idiots out there that will get you!

Anyway, back to owls:-

I've spent little time owling this month, partly due to this bug I've had, and is still ongoing, but on 9th January I had an afternoon out with my pal Titus (the bug manifested itself later that evening). Our objective was to visit a few of my more remote Little Owl sites, and to see if we could find any more sites. To cut a long story short, we only spotted one LO at existing sites, but we did find a new site (my No.34), which I spotted as we were travelling along a gated lane. It was almost sundown by then, and I only managed a view from the car, as the bird soon ducked back into its hole, possibly disturbed by our presence a good 70 metres away. This is the best image (heavily cropped) that I could get.

Little Owl - my new Site No.34
Fortunately this site is only a small diversion from my route when I am on Osprey Watch duties in the spring/summer!

A couple of days later, on 11th January, I was passing near my Site No.15 on my way to pick up some bird seed. To my delight, both Little Owls were out - I've not seen two birds together here for a long time. However, there's currently no responsible way of approaching this site to a photographic distance, so only record shots were obtained here. You should, however, be able to spot two birds (other than the Crow!) in the first image.


Little Owl - my Site No.15
Music

I think that I'll round up the musical interests from my schooldays (rock'n'roll days) by including a track from the legendary Eddie Cochran. There were plenty of other bands and musicians that I liked, but I think that I've covered most of my most important influences from those times by now - although perhaps Art Blakey, Miles Davis, and Charlie Mingus deserve a mention as I had a brief dalliance with the modern jazz scene!

Anyway, this is one of my favourite Eddie Cochran tracks.


42 comments:

  1. Hope your knee is feeling better! Little Owls are so sweet looking. I have been birding for a little more than a year and the only owls I have seen so far are larger than Little Owls. But I hope to remedy that soon!

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    1. Thank you for your kind words. The knee is holding up just fine! Good luck with the owls!

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  2. These are the reasons why I hate the white stuff, strange behaviour from the LO, they normally flush away so quickly, hope it's ok. It looks alright.

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    1. I think that this particular owl has got to know me over the years as it is quite confiding. Its current partner is less so!

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  3. Ouch! you had a very eventful outing Richard, let's hope you return full fitness soon! Great to find a new owl site too. Eddie Cochran is one of my Dad favourites and I grew up listening to him, Buddy Holly, The Everleys, Elvis and The Beatles, I still listen to them now! Great stuff!

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    1. I'm doing fine already Alan - thank you!

      Pleased to see that the occasional person is looking at/listening to the musical clips!

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  4. The first image is a real cracker. The eye contact is really good and the snow adds a little extra - well done.

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    1. Thank you Pat. Have visited your website. I love your artistic work on your photographic images!

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  6. Beautiful photos of the Little Owl, and Eddie, another wild one.

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  7. Looks like you had an eventful day! Be careful out there!
    Wonderful captures of your Little Owl! Good to hear you're out and about and congratulations on the new owl location.

    --Wally

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    1. Thanks Wally. I'm pleased to report that everything is in reasonable working order - as far as can be expected for an old'un anyway!

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  8. So glad you and your camera survived that nasty fall. I'm always afraid of that because I'm so clumsy. Your owl shots are incredible. I got a barred owl today, but the light wasn't ideal so I may not post them.

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    1. Thank you Gail. I'm looking forward to Barred Owl images from you!!

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  9. I'm so impressed with your bird photography. I'm your newest follower. :)

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    1. Thank you for following, Gail. You're most kind.

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  10. Good to see the owl, you and the camera are still in working order!

    Cheers and thanks for linking to WBW.

    Stewart M - Melbourne

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    1. Thanks Stewart. Can we have a bit of your sunshine please - although I've just been speaking to someone with a daughter in Melbourne who says they're expecting some welcome rain!

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  11. Love these images of Little Owl they have the sweetest expressive looking eyes!

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    1. Thank you. These birds seem to show so much character!

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  12. fabulous little guy!!! so cute! tucked into that hole in the tree, he's most hard to see!

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  13. Brilliant images of the owl in the snow mate.

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  14. Lovely post!
    The first pics are gorgeous!
    From the way it holds its wings, I guess this owl feels cold...

    It looks like you're living dangerously, Richard! LOL!
    I hope you are not in pain!
    Many idiots do not know how to drive when the road i slippery or covered in ice.
    Keep well!

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    1. Thank you Noushka. Cold, and probably hungry too as it can't be easy for it to find food when there's 15-20 cm of snow on the ground.

      The knee's pretty-much recovered now, thank you!

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  15. Hi Richard. A hair-raising trip out but I have to say, with those snowy LO images, like you say... Worth it!

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  16. There's something new, Little Owls in the snow, nice capture Richard:)

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  17. Great photos of the owls and I hope you did not lasting damage to your knee when you slipped.

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    1. Thanks Mick. The knee is much better now, thank you.

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  18. I love your little owl, they are so cute. Great shots!

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    1. Thank you Eileen. This particular owl seems to know and trust me now!

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  19. A handsome fellow, beautifully photographed.

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  20. Love those owls!! Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

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    1. Thanks Gary. I hope that you and Boomer are managing to keep warm in those temperatures you're getting over there, althoufgh I guess for Boomer it's no problem!

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