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Sunday, 22 February 2015

Owling - A Slow Start to 2015

At the end of my last, rather lengthy, post to this blog, I promised that the next post would be much briefer and be about owls. My owling since then has been rather sparse, partly due to lack of effort in that direction on my part, and partly due to adverse weather. No effort required, therefore, to keep it brief!

My last owly post featured five years of my Little Owl Site No.02. At the back end of 2014, on December 28th, I was fortunate to find one of the owls at No.02 away from the usual building and in a nearby tree.


Little Owl (Athene noctua) - my Site No.02
On 2nd January, both owls were out at my LO Site No.43. The jury is still out on the matter of whether this is a separate site to No.36, or whether it's a favoured roost for the birds from 36. I now think it's probably the latter, although No.34 is closer to No.43 than No.36 is!

Little Owl (Athene noctua) - my Site No.43
Two days later (on 4th January), on my local patch, an owl was out at LO Site No.30.

Little Owl (Athene noctua) - my Site No.30
On 13th January a Little Owl was out on my local patch at Site No.02 at one of its two most favoured locations. I've published many images of this spot, but I still can't resist showing another!

Little Owl (Athene noctua) - my Site No.02
Three days later, again on my local patch, one of the owls was out in full sun at my LO Site No.30

Little Owl (Athene noctua) - my Site No.30
One of my biggest disappointments in 2014 was losing the owls at my roadside LO Site No.44. Titus and I had come to the conclusion that the over-confident male had met with an accident, and the remaining female had eventually wandered off. The last sighting here had been on 28th August. We'd never given up on the site, passing at least once a week to check it out. It was, therefore, quite an emotional time for us both when, on 12th February, we found an owl in the old nest tree. We don't know whether this was the remaining owl returning to check out its old haunt, or a totally new bird. We'll keep an eye on things, but on a strictly 'minimum disturbance' basis - we will not jeopardise re-settlement of the site - so our visits will be reduced to 'an occasional drive-past' basis.

This isn't the best of images, but for me it's the most exciting!

Little Owl (Athene noctua) - my Site No.44 !!!
There was further excitement later that same day when, whilst we were on our way home, a Barn Owl flew along the road towards us. Sadly no photos were obtained. This was my first Barn Owl sighting of the year!

I'll finish off with an image from a trip out with Titus a couple of days ago, on 18th February. It's comparatively rare to find both owls out in the nest tree at my LO Site No.34. They're usually in the nest hole itself, or on a fence post at the edge of the field. So it was good to see the pair out, even if they didn't present themselves well for photography.

Little Owls (Athene noctua) - my Site No.34
That's all for now. The next post will probably be a non-owl, non-garden update, with a clue to some of the content in the header that is current with this post.

Thank you for dropping by.

21 comments:

  1. Hi Richard.
    Pleased to see the Little owls back on the Menu,love your header,looking forward to seeing more your next post.
    John.

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    1. Thank you, John. I guess the next post will be in about a weeks time.

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  2. Great you had your first sighting this year of a Little owl. They are stirring more with the days and light getting longer. I am Iooking forward on your blog with a promisse of other beauties like in your header.
    Regards, Roos

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    1. Thank you, Roos. I've actually had 36 sightings of Little Owl so far this year. It's the Barn Owl for which I had my first sighting of the year recently. The Great White Egret was, sadly, just a relatively distant sighting, but I've got some record shots which I shall share in the next post. Best wishes from UK - - - - Richard

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    2. I see!. I did not read it right. :-)

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    3. You are forgiven, Roos ;-} I'd be delighted if my Dutch was half as good as your English !!!

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  3. Good morning Richard: It's great to see a blog about your beloved owls. I think that all who follow your exploits on a regular basis associate your name with Little Owls automatically. I know that you have been having abysmal weather recently, but spring is right around the corner and hopefully a cessation of the eternal rain. Perhaps your owls will have a truly splendid breeding season and lots of new delights await you. Happy owling, David

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    1. Hi David. I'm being particularly careful with the owls so, hopefully, I'll have a few to show you both when you visit and I'll also be seeking permission for you to accompany me on my local patch - the farmer doesn't take kindly to univited guests!!

      Best wishes to you both - - - Richard

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  4. Well I'm sorry to hear about the nesting site disappearance. It happens often with these birds. BUT they are owls so maybe they just moved because of some other reason. This year I'm tracking our nesting Great Horned Owls because their original site has been covered. They are here on our campus, but I can't locate their new nest which is frustrating. All my best!

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    1. Thank you, Chris. I'll be keeping my fingers crossed for you finding the nest site of those Great Horned Owls - I know that they mean a lot to you.

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  5. Some fantastic images Richard, I really like the 'feel' of site 2 it really lends itself to great backdrops. I think our region is becoming a wintering ground for ol' big whitey in the header image, there was 5 up old Summer Leys today

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    1. Thanks, Doug. When you consider that ten years ago a Little Egret was a relatively notable sighting, I suspect that we're going to see a lot more of the Great Whites in the future. Five at Summer Leys is remarkable in the extreme, however!!

      I hope that your luck is improving and you recover from your ills soon. Good luck with the compensation issue - you deserve a small fortune (or even a large one!!).

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  6. As ever some great photos. You do so well with your sightings. One day maybe I will get a photo to of our local Little Owl! Meanwhile I will stick to the smaller birds in our garden. Have a good day Diane

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    1. Thank you, Diane. I wish you all the best with getting that photo!

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  7. Wonderful start to 2015 - even if it is a little slow. Some brilliant images here Richard.

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    1. Thank you, Dave, for your very kind words. Hopefully things will pick up again soon.

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  8. Hi Richard, lovely to see your Little Owl pictures again :-)

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    1. Thank you, Linda, for your continuing encouragement.

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  9. Hello Richard,
    Back in business with the LO's then, how great!
    I wonder how you can follow who does what and where they go, considering you have no means to recognise one from the other! LOL!
    It seems like a full time job!!
    Brilliant images again, they are really so cute and well worth checking out. I hope 2015 will be a great year for them!
    Keep well and thanks for your kind comment on the Goshawk!

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    1. Thank you, Noushka. That's not such a daft question that you pose, and sometimes it is difficult to know where a bird might have come from. Some individual birds are easily recognised - for example, one of the birds at LO Site No.34 (probably the male) exhibits a white marking (a bit like a golf tee) on the breast. Sometimes it's not posssible to be sure if it's a new site unless you can simultaneously find three (or four!) adult birds over the two locations. For example, we know that the birds seen at 43 are not the same birds we see at 34 as we often see two adults at one site and one or two at the other when we visit. However, we are uncertain about 36 and 43 as our best is two at one and none at the other, or one at each. This is why we suspect that they could be the same birds (although sightings at 36 and 43 are not as predictable as those at 34). Confused ??? I'm not surprised - we are too!!

      That was an utterly amazing encounter with the Goshawk! I've never seen one!

      I hope that you're having a great week. Best wishes - - - - Richard

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  10. A delightful summary of Little Owl encounters so far this year! Splendid photographs and it's fun keeping up with you as you try to determine whoooo is whoooo!

    Looking forward to that "other birds and delights of nature" thing!

    Hope your weekend is going well, Richard.

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