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Saturday, 9 December 2017

A Three-Owl Day - on 3rd December, 2017

Up until around a couple of years ago, a three-owl day when out owling in these parts would have been considered to be below par -  the norm was usually somewhere between four and seven Little Owls per session. Things then began to take a dive in the spring of 2016. There was a small recovery in the number of sightings early in 2017, but then the situation declined dramatically after May this year, with only two or three Little Owl sightings a month (none in September!). I was, therefore, excited to sight three Little Owls over three different sites on 3rd December. However, to achieve this, I did have to break away from my recent 'close to home' initiative.

The first sighting was at my LO Site No.37. At first I couldn't see an owl here, but then, by moving position, managed to spot one hiding in the branches. I then managed to find a better, but not great, position. It had, of course, already seen me!

Little Owl (Athene noctua) - my Site No.37
By changing position again, I managed a less obstructed view. It would have been nice to have had a clear view, but this was better than nothing.

Little Owl (Athene noctua) - my Site No.37
I didn't stay out for long and, having had a quick picnic lunch, I headed homeward again. I was delighted to see a Little Owl once more by my Site No.41. The nest tree came down earlier in the year and the owls disappeared a few weeks afterwards, having spent some time living in the fallen hollow trunk of their tree. I'd then gone from the end of May until mid-November without seeing an owl here.


Little Owl (Athene noctua) - my Site No.41
My final sighting was after dark (so no photos) at my LO Site No.02. 

OK, so three owls is nothing to write home about, but it was a wonderful day as far as I was concerned!

I'm not sure what my next post will be about. With the recent cold weather, and heavy snow forecast for tomorrow, I'm not sure what the photographic opportunities will be, but the garden birds are on the increase with 20 species dropping in so far today. However, Mrs P. is away for six days from tomorrow, so I might even spread my wings a little!

Thank you for dropping by.
 

24 comments:

  1. Hi Richard! Beautiful bird! What size bird is it? Is the thrush size? Best regards

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    1. Hi Anne. Thank you for your visit. They are about the same size as a Fieldfare (Turdus pilaris). We are now getting cold weather, but not as cold as yours - sub-zero temperatures and heavy snow (by UK standards!) predicted for tomorrow. Best wishes - - - Richard

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  2. Hello Richard, this is great news. Three LO on three different locations. I understand you were excited indeed.
    Hope the situation for the birds will get better.
    Regards,
    Roos

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    1. Thank you, Roos. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the owls manage to find mates and that 2018 will be a good breeding season - at the moment, it looks as if we are going to get a hard winter! With my very best wishes to you - - - Richard

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  3. Superb close-ups of the Little Owl, cheers Richard.

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    1. Thank you, Bob - much appreciated! Take good care - - - Richard

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  4. Great news,three Little Owls and at different sites,I would settle with one,well done.
    John.

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    1. Thank you, John, but I'll not be really happy until I find a pair at any of these sites. We need a few good breeding seasons end-to-end. My best wishes to you both - - - Richard

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  5. Love the stare in the second image. In fact, they are all very nice images.

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  6. Hello Richard,
    have you discovered again very nice. you have to look carefully to find them. the picture where you both look is great. The little owl makes a curious impression .. what does he think he might think ... ;-))
    Greetings Frank

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    1. Thank you, Frank. Little Owls do have a lot of character in their faces! I think that's one of the reasons that I am so fond of them. With my best wishes - - - Richard

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  7. Excelente reportaje con buenas noticias, me imagino que la nueva temporada de cría sea buena, eso espero. Me han gustado mucho las fotos, enhorabuena Richard. Todo lo mejor desde España.
    Con tu permiso he enlazado tu blog al mío.

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    1. Gracias por el enlace, Germán. He devuelto el favor y he agregado un enlace a tu blog. Con los mejores deseos de una Inglaterra nevada - - Richard

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  8. Great, I have tawny owls here but have yet to see one. I'll go for another serious look as they are very vocal most nights. Thanks for the inspiration.

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    1. Hi Adrian. Not something I'd usually recommend, but next time you hear one calling nearby, you could always try calling it back! It might come and investigate you. Please don't make a habit of it, however, as you could end up causing it concern. Good luck and best wishes - - - Richard

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  9. A three owl day is quite wonderful, Richard. Just think of all the people who have never even seen a single owl. Right now we are in Ottawa visiting my daughter and family and we visited a place called Petrie Island where a view years ago I was able to show them their first two Great Grey Owls. We went for a walk there yesterday and found two Piletaed Woodpeckers and a lingering Belted Kingfisher - but no owls! With love to you both, David

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    1. The woodpeckers and kingfisher would have got me excited, David, but not as much as a Great Grey. It's the owl of my dreams and I sometimes find myself contemplating a visit to Finland - then the thoughts of lying in wait in the snow, with temperatures in the negative tens brings me up with a jolt! Love to you both - - - Richard

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    2. It was minus 18 when we left Ottawa this morning.

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  10. Three is better than none, I'm still struggling to locate any new LO's around my way and down to two.
    I'm baffled as to what's gone wrong

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    1. It's a dire situation in these parts, Doug. I've not found a new site for nore than a year. I'm now down to only fve sites that I know to be active. I think there are many factors. I'll list some of them - lack of invertebrates through intensive use of pesticides - predation (Sparrowhawk and Buzzard) - destruction of nest sites - climate change making feeding difficult (extremes of dry, wet, and wind). I'm also wondering if there's a disease which is taking hold. It's all very worrying.

      Best wishes - - - Richard

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  11. OOOOOHHH, how cute Richard!!!
    You must be thrilled to see them again, really great photos. It looks like the first one is playing hide and seek with you! LOL!!
    This time round I didn't get a chance to photograph the ones at my hotel in Spain, in winter the pair seems to stray quite a bit in the area and they don't sit in their usual summer spots.
    All the best dear friend, enjoy your weekend and share warm hugs with Lindsay :)))

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    1. Hi Noushka. Sorry to take so long to reply to your kind comment - been busy catching up with Lindsay who's been away for a while! I was interested to hear that your Little Owls wander away from their base. I've always felt that our local LOs don't travel far - although many of them seem to have different homes in the winter to those they occupy in the summer. I suspect that some nest holes get a little unpleasant during the breeding season and so they seek somewhere cleaner to live afterwards, returning to the nest after it's had time to freshen up! I see this more with birds that nest in tree holes. Those that nest in buildings (presumably with more space to move around in) tend to stay put.

      Have a wonderful Christmas, and my very best wishes for 2018 - - - Richard

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