I wonder where dem boidies is.
De boid is on the wing - but dat's absoid.
I tought the wing was on the boid! (ANON)
In my last post, two weeks ago, I said that I was "Back in The Groove". Well I feel that I still am to a reasonable extent, although things have been a little slow between then and now - largely due to less than optimal weather, with other commitments interfering when the weather was better. However, there have been some highlights.
On the penultimate day of April, I went out onto my local patch to try and sort out what was going on with my owl sites there. I was singularly unsuccessful in this, being thwarted from visiting two of the sites due to frisky cows with calves - in one field there was a bull also, and the whole herd thundered towards me as soon as I looked over the stile into the field. I did find that the female Wheatear from more than two weeks earlier was still in the same place, so maybe it's going to stay there?
As I returned to my car with my tail between my legs (as far as owls were concerned), one of the Little Owls from my Site No.02 was out. I was trying out a new metering setup on my camera and it was only later that I found that I'd made a mess of things. The first shots were OK, but the subsequent shots, when I'd got a lot closer, were grossly over exposed. With manipulation I found that I could get the bird looking quite presentable but it was the background that looked extremely odd, so I'm only showing a couple of the more distant shots.
|Little Owl - my Site No.02|
On 1st May, Titus and I were on duty for an evening Osprey Watch at Rutland Water. Prospects for the afternoon and evening were not good as the weather was dull and showery.
As we passed though the village of Queniborough there was the charming sight of a whole school full of kids out in the playground dancing round the Maypole. It's a sad reflection on this modern world that, if I'd taken photos I'd probably have been arrested!
A while later, at my LO Site No.44, an owl was out in spite of the drizzling rain, but sheltered against the trunk and under a stout branch.
|Little Owl - My Site No.44|
Just up the road at Site No.46 an even braver owl was out on a distant fence post!
|Little Owl - my Site No.46|
A few minutes later and we were looking at a LO at my Site No.41 - we were having amazing luck, considering the weather!
|Little Owl - my Site No.41|
Our luck continued, with sightings at Sites Nos. 36 and 42, although no sensible photography resulted. I came to the conclusion that, as we were only seeing single birds where we were recently seeing pairs, that the females were now sitting on eggs. This would also explain why the single birds were sitting out, and active in poor weather - they were now having to feed two mouths!
Titus and I have been very unlucky with the weather and light during our duties at Rutland Water this season. This was our third session, and again it was with horribly dull grey conditions and a wind that was blowing the drizzle into the hide. The situation with the Ospreys at Rutland Water is more interesting than any TV soap, with a convoluted plot and the odd side plot too. This, however, will possibly feature in a future post to this blog.
Our session here was relatively uneventful. Unusually we had a pair of Tufted Duck in front of the hide. Although a common bird, this is the first time I've seen them in front of the hide. The reason has to be that this is a diving duck and, until this year, the water in front of the hide has been too shallow for them.
|Tufted Duck (female) - from Waderscrape Hide, Rutland Water|
|Tufted Duck (male) - from Waderscrape Hide, Rutland Water|
Whilst most of the Osprey action takes place on the opposite side of Manton Bay to the hide, this year there's a new bonus to being in the hide and that is the regular and frequent appearance of Water Voles. They've not been easy to photograph so far as they tend to only come into view when they're crossing relatively narrow channels and by the time you've spotted them and got your camera on them they've gone, and the poor light hasn't helped either! I did manage some slightly better images than on my previous attempts, however. I'm really looking forward to capturing these in better light!
|Water Vole - from Waderscrape Hide, Rutland Water|
I'd hate to mention a turn of duty at Rutland Water without showing you an Osprey. Sadly we did not get an Osprey come very near us that day, and this is the best that I could do.
|Osprey (male - 33(11)) - from Waderscrape Hide, Rutland Water|
And here's one from the nestcam - female (Maya) nearest camera.
|Osprey (female Maya and male 33(11)) - from nestcam|
The weather continued to be relatively unpleasant on our way home, but we did pick up further sightings of Little Owl at my Sites Nos. 34 and 40, so seven owls seen over seven sites - not too bad for a poor weather afternoon/evening when the main activity was Osprey watching!!
During the week that followed this I only had a couple of owling sessions, both of which were entirely focused on trying to find new owl sites. In this I was only partially successful in that I heard a Little Owl calling briefly, but could not find it. Whilst there on the second evening, just as it started to get dark, a Fox hove into view. I shall be looking out for better views of this creature, but keeping quiet about it as they hunt foxes in these parts!
|Fox - just off my local patch|
Titus and I had one of our regular afternoons out this last Thursday (8th May). The weather was terrible, being wet and windy for most of the time, and our expectations were extremely low. I'd seen one owl on my way over to Titus's place which flew up onto the chimney stack at my LO Site No.02. This distant shot of it checking me out was taken from my car.
|Little Owl - my Site No.02|
As I lowered my camera from taking this shot, something caught my eye. There was a Mallard duck nesting half-way down the roof, just below the owl! I know that some ducks nest in trees, but I had no idea that Mallards would nest on roofs!
|Mallard (nesting female) - my LO Site No.02|
Unsurprisingly, Titus and I only saw two owls that afternoon (Little Owls at sites Nos. 44 and 41) and photos were only obtained at 44, although these are some of my better ones from here (where dull weather is actually a bonus). Torrential rain had us curtailing our evening out by two hours or more, with virtually no chance of finding more owls. We even found our way blocked by a large fallen tree which, we were told, had come down just minutes before our arrival, giving us a few miles of diversion to get round the obstacle.
|Little Owl - my Site No.44|
The weather forecast for the next few days is continuing to be rubbish (wet and windy) and so I'm not sure when my next photographic foray will be.
Thank you for stopping by.