The wife is still as sick as a parrot, and I don't feel comfortable leaving her on her own for more than an hour or two, so the owling is still being very limited at this time.
On Monday I went down to my local patch. As I approached my new Site No.20 I could see the owl again on its favourite perch. On my previous two visits I was not able to approach the bird sensibly because the tree with the visible bird was in a hedge at the edge of a sown field. However, every hedge has two sides and I discovered that the field on the other side of the hedge, with cattle and a bull in (!) belongs to my local farmer who has given me permission to roam wherever I want. Keeping an eye on the livestock, I made a stealthy approach to the owl. I got to within a reasonable distance without disturbing the bird unduly but, unfortunately the bird was badly placed for photography. Anyway, I did manage a slightly better image than my previous one.
|Little Owl - my Site No.20|
I didn't find owls at the other two active sites on my patch and, having had a chat to the farmer, it was time for me to return home to sort out some lunch for the two of us.
Today (Wednesday) I set off to another of my more recent sites near Oaks in Charnwood. This is the one where I've seen Mandarin, but only seen one owl here briefly, and not got any owl images. On arrival I was chatting to the landowners when a Wheatear landed on the fence on the other side of the garden. I managed a few distant 'into the sun' images for the record - I'm beginning to rather like this place!
|Northern Wheatear (male)|
While we continued to chat, a couple of Swallows came and sat on the weathervane - I rather like the idea of birds riding on foxes!
It was now time to set off across the fields to try and find some owls - or the odd Mandarin. No Mandarins were seen however, but this Wagtail was obligingly sitting on a drystone wall.
|Pied Wagtail (male)|
I was getting concerned that I'd been visiting this place regularly, and not seeing an owl. I was beginning to suspect that the old Oak tree, with many holes, where the owl had been seen a couple of time recently, was not actually the nest tree. In my previous visits I'd seen several other possible candidates in the area, and my earlier conversation with the landowners suggested that one of these other trees was a very likely candidate. I had my hide with me, so I set it up where I could keep an eye on this tree, and waited.
After only about fifteen minutes, an owl emerged from the tree, but not from the hole I expected to be the nest hole. Consequently I was not in a good position. I only got in one shot before the owl saw the hide and was off, flying into a distant tree where it could watch my hide.
|Little Owl (A) - my Site No.18|
This was somewhat frustrating as I did not want to move my hide, or get out of it, whilst the owl was watching me. An hour later I was still sitting there - me watching the owl, and the owl watching me! Suddenly there was an owl call from behind my left shoulder! I'd no idea where it had come from, but the owl I was watching called back loudly. I just had to sit there and wait. It was half an hour before the second owl dropped into a tree beyond the nest tree, where I could see it.
|Little Owl (B) - my Site No.18|
It eyed me up for a while, and then flew into the distant tree to join its mate. They were both looking at me now. I'd already had to phone the wife to check that she was OK and that it was alright for me to be an hour late back to do lunch. This hour was now nearly all gone. Damn it! I was going to have to reveal myself. I grabbed a quick shot of owl No. 2 in the distant tree and then, acting nonchalantly, got out of my hide, packed it up , and departed. I shall leave it a good while now before I attempt any more images of the owls here, but I will keep monitoring the site from a distance.
|Little Owl (B) - my Site No.18|