In Dusk We Trust - Some Owling in Co.Durham, North East England, Great Britain
Leucistic Little Owl image copyright Hilary Chambers, Durham.

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

22 Feb - Warm as a Toast

This entry contains information relating to the propulsion of persons in a motor vehicle powered by an internal combustion engine.

The school was shut today - one of those Insect days where the teachers get down to the nitty gritty
Re-writing politically correct versions of nursery rhymes & vote on what to ban next in the school yard . . . conkers, snowballs etc.
I dont know about them, they were probably working flat out after the rollocking Ofstead gave 'em, but we certainly had fun during the day.

Towards the end of it, we drove ( !!! ) out into the countryside, to one of our 5-owl sites (NZ24)

We found a nice vantage point, sat the little down on rucksack on a perfect log-seat, wrapping him in a fleece blanket.

Warm as a Toast

Fieldfares we coming in to roost after a day of feding on the sunny, south facing slopes of autumn sown crops & Partridge called & chased all around us.

Still snow where the sun hadnt managed to get to & a bit of it appeared to move . .
We squeaked it in so far, but the breeze was ahind & it dropped off the radar as quickly as it had appeared. This looked to be a different individual, with a few brown flecks showing through.

Jacks seen plenty of Stoats & white Ermine twice before, we even had one disappear down a hole carrying a vole within 10 feet.
We call them Toasts
( after "someone" called out "theres a Toast" - as one ran over the road in front of us! )

Distant, but naked eye views Barn & Shorty wheeling about & 2 Hares chasing - well one was doing the chasing anyway.

Just as the light was going a male Long-eared began to hoot, then he flew up to perch openly against a snowy backdrop.
He went out to hunt straight off, some Fieldfares scattered, but couldnt see him trying for anything, so we packed up failing to get a close view of any owl.

Jack pointed up at the half moon, then later walking back spyed another one - obviouslythe other half.

It amazes me that he'll walk off ahead not bothered about the very low lighting, but doesnt like the light off in the house.

Jack leads the way - camera wasnt quick enough to catch the owl !

We were half way back when a Leo went past silhouetted against the top of the slope.
We stopped & he barked a note of disapproval
" think i can hear a dog " - in fact his was a very good description.
Despite the warning note, a female could be heard calling every 6 seconds or so - she must have seen him coming returning - the females call more rapidly when their mates are coming back - maybe she thought he was returning with their supper ?

Closer to the car (while spotting the missing half of moon), little 'un stopped again
"think i can hear a amblance dad"
then the siren went again
"no its a police" he reassured me as he continued walking on ahead.

We do it sparingly & wouldnt like to think i would brain wash the little fella
he wont be 5 for a couple of months yet - but im sure he'll grow to appreciate the natural world around him & have an affinity with it.

If you have an interest in nature then surely you can never be bored.

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