As I drove to Out Rawcliffe in the half-light this morning mist hung around the low lying fields. When I passed the roadside barn the Little Owl stayed in-situ for once instead of disappearing into the roof space, so I slowly dropped the rear window and snapped a picture, just in case nothing else came our way.
The track through the farm had a roadside Kestrel, and as I donned willies for the wet, long grass, a male Sparrowhawk left the plantation and dashed low and fast the way I’d come. A good start, if only it could last. The ringing was quiet again, a lack of warblers, in fact a lack of birds, just 11 birds caught in 3+ hours before a strengthening wind forced net closure: 4 Blackcap, 2 Whitethroat, 2 Blackbird, 1 Chiffchaff, 1 Robin and 1 Dunnock.
Next time, which could well be August, we agreed to shift our efforts to finches rather than non-existent warblers.
Birding was equally quiet, with visible migration represented by 2 Siskin and 2 Pied Wagtail overhead. Other birds, 3 Yellowhammer in song, 4 Corn Bunting, 1 Reed Bunting, 2 Willow Warbler, 4 Swift, 40 Swallow and 12 House Martin.
The sun rose, warming the thermals, the Buzzards became more active and switched from their invisible calling to soaring into the clouds. A minimum of 4 Buzzards today, some of the aforesaid calling from hungry youngsters in the tree tops.
Buzzard - Buteo buteo
On the way home I called into another Little Owl spot, a place where the bird comes out into the warming sun, takes in the view, and then watches the world and me go by.
Most blog readers in the UK will be familiar with the Little Owl Athene noctua which became truly resident in Britain in the early 1900s after several earlier unsuccessful attempts to introduce it from Europe during the 19th century. The Little Owl is much smaller than other larger UK owls like Tawny Owl, Long-eared Owl and Short-eared Owl, and they feed mainly on insects (beetles, moths and spiders) and earthworms, but also small birds, amphibians and mammals. Little Owls are often active during the daytime and can often be seen perched on branches close to the trunk, fence posts, or walls out in the open, often at the roadside. But not all are as obliging as my little bit on the side.