Friday, June 20, 2014

Good Morning Owls

After Joanne’s Little Owl pictures of Thursday, today it’s my turn. Stay tuned for Little Owl and Barn Owl. 

The run of bright and dry weather and almost at the longest day makes for early starts, driving on quiet roads with the chance to slow down at a few locations where owls live. At 6am there was a Barn Owl flying alongside the road at Cockerham and lots of light for a photograph; but the owl flipped over the hedgerow and out of sight. I drove up and down the road a couple times, turning at convenient spots and then waiting in gateways for the owl to reappear. 

No luck, so I checked out a Little Owl farm of old. The RSPB website tells me that the Little Owl Athene noctua “can be seen in the daylight, usually perching on a tree branch, telegraph pole or rock. It will bob its head up and down when alarmed.” 

And there one was, and on a telegraph pole. The owl stole a look at my approaching car and chose not to bob its head up and down but instead continued to watch the ground below for “small mammals and birds, beetles and worms”. 

Little Owl

Little Owl

Little Owl

Little Owl

After a while the owl got bored with looking at the same bit of the ground and flew off towards the farmhouse and farm buildings. Now there’s a “good” bird to have sat on your house; makes a change from House Martins and House Sparrows. 

Little Owl

There was a Red Fox in the middle of the road but even as the car approached from 100yards the fox took fright and loped off. The camera was still set to overexpose the owl against the morning sky - "D’oh".  Red Foxes in this part of the world still mostly inhabit the true countryside and as far as I know do not frequent the Saturday night kebab shops when the drunks go home.   

Red Fox

There was another Barn Owl at Conder Green, this one hunting the embankment alongside the old railway where moored boats dot the green marsh. It was 0730, the owl was up late and heading swiftly for a daytime sleep, but not before an Oystercatcher gave it a telling off.  Two or three pairs of Oystercatchers have chicks nearby and while a Barn Owl may be "cute" it is a predator which needs to eat and to feed chicks of its own.

Barn Owl

Oystercatcher and Barn Owl

Barn Owl

Oystercatchers

Also out hunting was a Sparrowhawk, carrying prey back to a nest somewhere while at the same time lifting the prey towards its bill to take crafty nibbles. Before today I’d never ever seen this behaviour by a Sparrowhawk, just from members of the falcon family. 

After the excitement of raptors it was back to June’s unchanging birds of hedgerow, pool and creek; 2 Grey Heron, 4 Little Egret, 65 Redshank, 15 Oystercatcher, 12 Lapwing and 1 Common Sandpiper. 

Common Sandpiper

Other bits ‘n pieces totalled up to 45 Swift, 2 Stock Dove, 5 Sedge Warbler, 3 Pied Wagtail. 

Another Bird Blog is back soon, maybe with more owls but certainly with more birds.

Linking today to  Eileen's Saturday Blog.

19 comments:

eileeninmd said...

Phil, it is awesome you are able to see all these owls.. I wish the Barn owl was a a more common sight here. They are beautiful. Great captures! Happy birding and have a wonderful weekend!

David Gascoigne said...

Great stuff, Phil. Any time you have a two owl day it's a red letter day. I plan to be in England in August next year and I am going to try my darndest to visit you if you'll agree. I shall demand two owl species and a lamb curry as the absolute minimum!!!

Carole M. said...

miss your posts while away Phil, but as always, great post from you. Love the barn owls, but to capture one with an Oyster-catcher seems the most unlikely combination. Well done! http://snaphappyonline.blogspot.com

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

Amazing day of birding ... that Little Owl is just adorable. I'd be thrilled to see it and I can't even imagine me getting such wonderful pictures. Thanks for all.

Richard Pegler said...

A great post, Phil! I love your LO images - and all the rest of them too, although the fox is a little dubious ;-}

Does that Barnie have a tracking radio with a wire hanging down, or has it picked up a bit of grass or something?

eileeninmd said...

Phil, stopping back to say thank you for linking up to my critter party. Have a happy weekend!

sandyland said...

I cannot wait to see weekly your many offerings so stimulating for me Thanks

Gunilla Bäck said...

The owls are gorgeous!

Julie said...

What wonderful shots, I wish we could get our owl to sit still when I got close so I could get a pic.

TexWisGirl said...

just awesome sightings and shots, as always!

Christian Weiß said...

Wow, just stunning and awesome observations.

Karen said...

A sweet Little Owl, love the owl and oystercatcher in flight!

Shey Wicklund said...

Amazing captures especially of the owls. I also love the one with the owl and oystercatcher in the same shot.

Adam Jones said...

Really like those Little Owl shots. Great stuff!

Cynthia said...

The Little Owl looks happy to pose for your camera. Great shots.

carol l mckenna said...

Fantastic owl shots ~ what a beauty and your other birding shots are intriquing also for OWT ~ thanks, ^_^

artmusedog and carol ( A Creative Harbor)

Arija said...

I do so much love owls and our resident one I have never had the chance to get a picture of.
Love your shots and wols of course.

Fun60 said...

That's an amazing shot of the oyster catcher and the barn owl.

chai-and-chardonnay.blogspot.com said...

Just love the little owl and what a luck that you managed to capture the barn owl together with oyster catcher.

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