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Saturday, 19 July 2014

Yes, It's Owls Again! - on 7th & 10th July, 2014

Titus and I had an evening out on Monday 7th July. We saw a few Little Owls, and even a Barn Owl (not successfully photographed), but it was the juveniles at my Little Owl Site No.41 which entertained us once more. One juvenile was already out when we arrived. This one succeeds in looking quite stern!

Little Owl (Athene noctua) (1st juvenile) - my Site No.41
A while later, a second juvenile appeared from one of the nest holes. To me, this one just looks a little bewildered - and cute!

Little Owl (Athene noctua) (2nd juvenile) - my Site No.41
Shortly after this, we moved on to our next port of call, which is where we saw the Barn Owl (Tito alba) from a distance.

Thursday 10th July was a day for a turn of duty at Rutland Water, and it was a particularly entertaining one for us - which will feature in my next post (there's a hint in the current header!). As usual, however, Titus and I did a bit of owling on the way there (and back!).

As we passed LO Site No.41 (again!), we spotted an adult and a juvenile (unfortunately not side-by-side) in the nest tree.

Little Owl (Athene noctua)  - my Site No.41
Little Owl (Athene noctua) (juvenile) - my Site No.41
Further on, at my LO Site No.36, an owl was spotted near the nest tree, and close to the rarely used footpath. I thought it was an adult owl when I looked at it from a distance. It had the identical pose to that usually adopted by the male owl at this site, and shared the same eyebrow configuration. I decided to risk a stealthy approach, and obtained the following image. Now one of the key factors in a stealthy approach is to avoid eye contact. Furthermore, when taking the photos I was more intent of getting settings right than observing the owl in the three or four seconds that I faced it. It was only when I put the images up on the screen at home that I realised that I'd got a juvenile - that promises to be the spitting image of its dad!

Little Owl (Athene noctua) (juvenile) - my Site No.36
Yes, the owl was still there when I left, and was still there when I got back to the car. 

More Little Owl were seen in the late evening, on the way home from Rutland but, as we entered one village, a Tawny Owl (Strix aluco) flew past us in the opposite direction. We turned round, and soon picked the owl up by sound. There was at least one juvenile, plus the adult we'd seen. One of the juveniles was spotted, and I only managed a record shot as it was all but dark by then.

Tawny Owl (Strix aluco) (juvenile) - undisclosed site
This was a very satisfying end to a grand day

Thank you for dropping by.


  1. What a grand day three owl species in one day and some with juveniles too. I really liked the one in the hole of the tree but it is hard not to like any of the images took to be fair.
    I like the tip of avoiding eye contact I was told birds see it as a threat but was always scared the bird would vanish I would not see where it went lol

    1. Thank you, Doug (that is your name, isn't it? ;-} ).

      Sadly it wasn't three species in a day but two species on one day (Little & Barn), and two (Little and Tawny) three days later.

      Little Owls are, generally, clever enough to know that the safest time to disappear is when you're not looking. So, many a time I've looked to find one has gone. However, if I want any chance of a decent image when on foot (rather than in my car or in my hide), I do best with the eye-contact avoidance method. The alternative is to hold eye-contact unfalteringly (so it can't depart unseen), but then you get a nervous and disturbed bird, and I'm not happy about that. You also run the risk of falling into an unseen hole in the ground or treading in a cow pat!!!! ;-}

  2. All beauties! Hope they all do well! It's that time of year:)

  3. Another terrific post, Richard! I'm quite envious of your ability to see so many owls whenever you wish. (Okay, I know how much hard work it is to locate nesting sites and maintain any sort of observation schedule. My hat's off to you for your efforts! -- But I'm still jealous.)

    It's hard to look like a mean, vicious killer when all that baby fuzz makes one look so cute! Great shots of the juveniles! And that "family likeness" portrait is brilliant!

    Sorry you missed a shot of the Barn Owl, but just knowing SOMEONE has seen one lifts my spirits!

    It's hot and steamy here so birding is pretty much limited to the very early hours. Hope your weekend is going well!

    Take care -- Wally

    1. Thank you, Wally. If ever you're over in UK, I'd be delighted to take you to some of my Little Owl sites - for security reasons that's something that I don't do for UK residents.

      We also have hot and steamy weather, but not to your extremes. However, it seems that the Little Owls are not keen on it either, and are not showing so well at the moment.

      Best wishes - - Richard

  4. Fantastic shots Richard,I bet it's like being a new Dad,you must be very proud.

    1. Thank you, John. I'm not sure about 'proud', but certainly privileged to be able to watch these beauties!

  5. Oh my!
    I really love your LO photos!!
    Brilliant post again!
    Unbelievable how each one is different from the other!
    We enjoyed David and Myriam's presence for 3 days and guess what?!!!
    Your were really present in our conversations, missing you very much!
    They have driven to Spain now but I think they were quite happy with France!
    Can't wait to see David's posts as he gets back... he is such an enthusiastic and adorable person!
    Hugs and a salute to Titus!

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

      I'm delighted that you got together with David and Miriam. We're really looking forward to them visiting with us next year. I just hope that they're not disappointed by their visit here - I really am a novice when it comes to birdwatching as my interest is rather specialised (on owls, of course!).

      Have a wonderful week. - - - Richard


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