In Dusk We Trust

In Dusk We Trust - Owling in Co.Durham, England, UK. - Header iPhone-scoped image: Long-fella asleep. S.Evans 2012.

Friday, 23 January 2015

Owl snippets

Highlights on This week:-
Located 2 trees a mile apart, both showing signs of occupancy by BO, which isn't currently a known territory.
LO bolting into Barnie box when Buzzard landed in the same tree.
Single afternoon visit in passing, saw LO SEO & LEO all viewed from public footpaths at Ye Olde Meadowlands of Raynton.
Opportunistic TO dining on Snipe- more on this when I can upload pics.
Bigg Luggs 'singing' at 2 sites this week.
Unusual find in open country was a regular TO hunting perch, half a dozen pellets under 1 tree, way to small to offer any scope for roosting.

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Familiarity breeds...

Ive wandered around OFFH (on foot from home) on & off for a decade.
Winter is The Season here, we're Spoilt rotten. The Five, along with another 105 bird species by the end of January means there's always something to look for.
This year I thought I'd pay attention to some lesser known paths & see what surprises lay unfound.
Despite strong coverage, we still manage to turn up new pairs of Leos every couple of years, & keep an open mind as landscapes change & evolve.
However, a seemingly conspicuous & easily located bird like Little Owl.... well you'd presume they were all bagged & tagged by now...
Close to the very well known Bog, there are several Parts unknown & these have looked "super-owly" in passing.
 A recent recce found asio pellets along the fenceline & a single Bigg Luggs in Elderscrub close by.
The same visit produced a Woodcock feeding out in the open, which I managed to photograph. (link below).
This "finding" is what motivates me & I planned to come back over.
A week later & I was back in the same area, I had a Jack Snipe on the ground, but stepped back to enable a photo & put up another which i nearly trod on. Both vanished...
Surely a good omen, Woodcock last time, Jack Snipe this - I dreamed of a big Leo roost along the way...
The woods proved to be not so fruitful & I headed up a hedgerow. Approaching a fine Ash I looked up to be met with a very disgruntled Little Owl. His mate sat in a crack in the next tree along.
You could have blown me over, I've been past here with the family & never gave it a glance - what a surprise a new pair of Littles.
With 50 or more pairs in this 10km sq, I thought we'd found a good few, especially pleased with this being only about a mile or so from home.
I managed a digi-binned picture & its gone down well on Flickr with 9,000 views in a few days !"

So hopefully there'll be less familiarity & more owls in the coming year.

Friday, 9 January 2015

2015. All 5 NYD.

New Years morning, in position in good time. As the night began to slip away, a Hunting Barn Owl the very first bird I saw, the perfect start. Little Owls called sharply, with the top of a telegraph pole being a vantage point for one. To the SW, the sky was black & a short jog to the edge of the reserve was timed to perfection as the male Long-eared cruised into view, wing clapping as he approached his plantation.
"The 5" was certainly on the cards after a faultless start. However, no sooner had the Leo evaporated when the morning became darker as the sky first few spots of rain fell.
The East was brighter, this route taking me away from the Short-eareds... A Staked out Tawny in an ornamental Cypress was an easy addition - Owl number 4 seen well before 9AM.
The thought crossed my mind to double back for #5.... but these would wait.

In the end Short-eared was the final bird of the day - amazingly waiting a good ten mins after the light had gone before they set out to hunt.

A cracking day, 79 species & only the third time I've seen The 5 on a NYD.

Saturday, 1 February 2014

been a long time

Summer 2013 was pretty much a blank nesting season for Co.Durhams Long-eared's, so at the moment winter roosting birds are on the whole "bad to get".  That being said, i know of  two double figure roosts, one holding at least a dozen birds.
Heres one sitting nicely - taken at range with iPhone 4GS hand held to Nikon fieldscope x30 mag.

From New Year, it has been pleasing to note that our male Longs have commenced their display flights right on cue , with several local owlers connecting & yet another new pair found in suitable habitat.  (MH/DC/GS/SE et al )
Heres an iPhone snap shot of a male displaying overhead :-

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Longs at dusk

A couple of images of 2 Long-eareds shortly after emerging from roost at dusk. . Im reasonably happy with the first 2 pics - it was difficult enough to see the bird let alone catch it phone-scoping !

Cropped images taken from about 80metres away -iPhone 4GS hand held to 30x Nikon Fieldscope (85mm obj lens)

These 2 pics were taken on another visit, lighter & closer, but looking towards what bit light was remaining

At least 3 birds here, coming past hunting at close range. - although they seem equally happy to post hunt for spells. A Pair dueting tonight, before the male left to hunt.

Saturday, 5 January 2013

Long overdue

Thought i'd have a go at resurrecting this blog

hopefully things can only improve by re-starting on a low note

this one looks like it simply fell of its perch

Luckily there were several more close by.

Heres a couple of random Little & Tawny shots from past few weeks :-

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Short Harrier battle

The best asio winter for several years is drawing to a close, but seems to be ending with a fair flurry of activity.

Heres a series of long range pics from John of a Shorty showing a Hen Harrier who's boss!

On yer bike
and a nice cropped shot as the harried passed by, still at range :-

Images from J.Bridges from a private study site up on the escarpment.  JBee.

Post Script:
The Gin Trap Ninja writes to tell me he recognises this individual & has snapped it several times..... just how many individuals and how far these Harriers have been travelling is unclear at best.... the ringtail i watched mid week was only a mile away but a very different looking creature.

One tactic these Harriers seem to employ on a regular basis, which i havnt seen or heard with Shorties is to "catch" a whole mouse / vole nest and feel through it whilst flying, disguarding all vegetative matter but keeping a firm hold on the meal inside.

Saturday, 10 March 2012

Brown owls poem n photo

The Brown Owl sits in the Ivy bush
and she looketh wondrous wise
With a horny beak beneath her cowl
and a pair of large round eyes 

Pair of Tawnies in an 'Ivy-bush'.

(im still looking for #6 in the previous post, but im told its definately there !)

Friday, 9 March 2012

as the headmaster used to say.....

six of the best.

( well, six of the second best, 'cos they're Shorties )

Photo with kind permission of David Kray, Hurworth Burn Res, Co.Durham.

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Owl watching hide

Heres the view at one of the 5 owl sites nr Durham