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Monday, 23 December 2013

Owling Incidentals & Christmas Wishes - late 2013

Whilst probably around 80-90% of my birdwatching time is spent purely focused on owls, there are, of course, times when I feel inspired to take photos of other birds or even non-avian subjects. Sometimes this happens when I'm specifically owling!

One of the sites that occasionally turns up interest is my Little Owl Site No.21. Since I've been monitoring this site, I've had a few good sightings here, including Red Kite, and recently a Great Grey Shrike which I saw at relatively close quarters, but failed to get my camera on before it departed - something that will haunt me for ages to come! Worryingly, the Little Owls haven't been seen for a few months now, although they bred this year.

Sunset Sky - from my LO Site No.41
Common Buzzard - at my LO Site No.21
This last image from No.21 was taken on a wet and windy December afternoon and yes, I did see Little Owls that afternoon, but not here!

Common Kestrel (female) - in the nest tree at my LO Site No.21
Sometimes, when out owling with my pal Titus, we pop over to Rutland Water. On one mid-November day nothing astounding turned up, but we were seeing lots of Redwing and Fieldfare. It's a long while since I got a decent image of either of these - and this isn't one of them!

Redwing - Rutland Lyndon Reserve
The Cormorant Tree - Rutland Lyndon Reserve
The Moon - from Rutland Lyndon Reserve
My first attempts at that last shot were pretty hopeless, but I got much better ones about ten minutes later when I'd walked a bit closer! A pity that the gull couldn't have obliged by getting in the same focal plane!

My local patch has turned up some good sightings in the past, including Redstart, but usually in the summer. Not wanting to ignore the local patch in this post, the best I have to offer (other than owls, of course) is this Kestrel.

Common Kestrel (male) - by my LO Site No.02
I know that Squirrels are not popular with many birders, but I have no real objection to them. On one farm I visit from time to time where, until recently, there were breeding Barn Owls, there is a tree where I'm told Little Owls used to nest. During a visit at the end of November a squirrel was seen on the edge of this old nest hole. As I approached it dropped into the hole, but then soon poked its head up to see if I was still around.


Squirrel - undisclosed site
Another of my Little Owl sites (No.18) also yields interesting sightings from time to time. I've photographed Mandarin, Tree Pipit, and Wheatear here in the past. On a dull and windy day I got my first ever image of a Sparrowhawk in flight. The image is rubbish, but it's a milestone for me, and I will publish it here to prompt me to try to do better!

Sparrowhawk - at my LO Site No.18
On a finer day here, I found a Little Egret in a tree in an adjacent field. Whilst I was looking around for the owls (they've not been seen for a few months) the egret decided to fly past me, calling loudly as it did so. I swear that, in the last image, it turned to look at me.



Little Egret - at my LO Site No.18
It's also been several months since I've seen an owl at my LO Site No.03. The nest tree, which is shown in the next image (taken on the same day as the egret images, above), has deteriorated somewhat this year, and I suspect that they've moved on. I shall be trying to track them down.

Sunset - at my LO Site No.03
It just remains for me to wish my friends and followers out there a Very Happy Christmas, and a Healthy and Prosperous New Year. Thank you for your much-appreciated support and encouragement! - Richard

32 comments:

  1. Beautiful pictures Richard. I find redwings and fieldfares very difficult to photograph - I don't think I've ever got close enough for a really good photo of either. Hope you have a great Christmas and New Year (with lots of owls). We sometimes have a tawny owl hunting across our row of back gardens - always a lovely sound to hear after dark (unless you're a wood mouse!)

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    1. Thank you, Phil.

      I've never seen a Tawny owl from our house - only ever heard them at a great distance. It would be the highlight of my year to actually see one!

      Wishing you all the best for Christmas and the New Year - Richard

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  2. I think your cormorant tree looks better than most Christmas trees!

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    1. Thank you David. I hadn't thought of it like that - until now!

      Wishing you both all the best for Christmas and the New Year.

      Richard

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  3. Love your flight shots Richard,fantastic looking Redwing,hope to see more in 2014.
    Merry Christmas and a very happy New year,to you and your Family.
    John and Sue.

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    1. Thank you, both of you, for your kind words.

      Hoping you have a great Christmas, and wishing you all the best for 2014.

      Richard

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  4. Splendid set of pictures - any bird of prey would be a good picture for me!

    Hope you have a good Christmas - kids are going to bed here - maybe they will sleep!

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

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    1. Thank you, Stewart.

      Hopfully I'll be sleeping soundly when your Christmas starts. Not sure what age your kids are, but I also hope that you're not woken up in the early hours of the morning by a hot-breathed whisper of "has he been yet?"!!

      Hoping you have a great one, and wishing you all the best for 2014.

      Richard

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  5. Richard what a truly inspiring post with some seriously good photography thrown in....

    I had 2 tawny's in the garden a few months ago, they stayed for 3 nights before what I presume was the adult swooping down at the perched juvenile trying to move it on. One of the Owls stayed for a further week.

    I wish you a really great Christmas and an "Owling" 2014

    Dave

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    1. Thank you for your very kind words, Dave. Yet another person making me jealous with garden Tawnies!!

      Your recent post on your own blog may have inspired me to look at the possibility of Finland for May this year!

      Have a great Christmas yourself, and my best wishes for a bird-filled 2014 for you.

      Richard

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  6. Your photos are amazing. I really hope that you and Mrs Pegler have a brilliant Christmas. From Findlay

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    1. Thank you Findlay. I've really enjoyed following your progress in 2013.

      My best Christmas wishes to you and the family.

      Richard

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  7. Love the picture 'The Cormorant Tree' :-D Happy Christmas to you:-)

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    1. Thank you, Linda. Have a brilliant one yourself!

      Richard

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  8. Very special pictures, especially the Cormorants, wow. Happy holidays Richard.

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    1. Thank you bob. My very best wishes to you too!

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  9. Happy holidays to you!!! I wrote a comment but don't know if it went through so if it did, I apologize for this repeat. I love your moon shot.....amazing detail. Yesterday, I thought about you as we went around counting the Burrowing Owls in a town. The good news was that everyone was at their site and appeared happy. And like you, I keep their sites secret! Some of the owls are very trusting and unfortunately, I don't trust many humans so they're info is kept secret......always:) Wishing you the best! Chris

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    1. Thank you, Chris. I hope you're enjoying the holidays too.

      Counting Burrowing Owls, and finding them all present, sounds like my idea of heaven! Always a good policy to keep their whereabouts a closely guarded secret!

      All the best for 2014. I'm looking forward to following your adventures!

      Richard

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  10. Hello Richard,
    What a magnificent and interesting set of pictures you chose to end this year!
    The moon pic stands out incredibly, I don't know I could ever match its sharpness... WOW!
    And the second sunset at LO Site No.03 is stunning!
    I saw one exceptional just before the storm clouds on tuesday like I had never seen but I was on my way to a doctor's appointment and didn't have my camera... such a pity!
    Richard, I wish you a grand New Year and sincerely hope it brings you whatever you are wishing for!
    Kind reagrds

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    1. Thank you for your kind comments and good wishes, Noushka. They are much appreciated.

      Sorry you missed that sky shot, and I hope that the visit to the doctor wasn't for anything serious!

      I'm really looking forward to more of your fabulous photography in 2014

      All the best, Noushka.

      Richard

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  11. Richard, what a wonderful post! As much as I love your owls, you have an impressive collection of other birds, wildlife and landscapes to share! Super photography!

    We hope all the best for your owls and may you and your family have a blessed New Year!

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    1. Thank you, Wally, for your very kind comments.

      I hope that 2014 brings you and your family all that you wish for.

      I look forward to your posts in the coming year.

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  12. Many thanks Richard for your concern!
    I should be OK!
    I hope we will share more pics and interesting observations along the next year and that your Little owls will be VERY present! :)

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    1. Glad to hear that you're OK Noushka. I'm looking forward to the rest of this year, and more of your amazing photography!

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  13. Thank you for your many wonderful posts on wildlife and especially on owls! Have a Happy New Year to you. :)

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    1. Thank you Denise.

      A very happy New Year to you too!

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  14. Great selection of photos. Looking forward to your new photos in 2014. Wishing you all the best for the coming year, Diane

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    1. Thank you Diane.

      My best wishes for 2014 to you too.

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  15. Great images Richard, I really liked the cormorant tree..just needs a star on top of it.

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    1. Sorry Doug. Somehow I managed to miss this one too! Thank you. Never thought of the Christmas aspects when I posted the Cormorant Tree image!

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