Stopped on the way to have a look a Long-eared site - the breeze was strong & gusty, one of the youngsters was perched on the windward side of a Hawthorn, struggling to hold on as it was buffeted back & forth.
Up out of the valley the gusts were worse.
Searched for quarter of an hour, then picked up one of the Barn owls hunting the edge of a standing hay field.
He kept low & close to the shelter provided by a block of woodland, but within moments gone from view - no further sign & no further forward on this one . . .
Time was getting on, but it was becomming calmer all the time
I walked down into the Browney valley, a mile from the owl & close to a known pair - again only a single brief view of a hunting bird.
The breeze died off just as the last light slipped away @ 22:35
As i made my way up the bank, a Little owl was on top of the dry stone wall, and a couple of young begging unseen from a large Sycamore were some consolation - a new pair for my list & little more than a mile from the Cathederal.
This adds to the growing NZ24/34 Little owl list - will have to tot these up again, but we had over 100 confirmed breeding pairs by 2005.
The valley is predominantly mixed farmland, but has allways been good for Grasshopper Warblers - 4 or 5 reeling unseen this evening.
Further up the slope the breeze was tailing off as the light faded, i kept close to the RH fencelineon the way & bumped into an adult Fox strolling down the middle.
It didnt half get a shock, it clattered the wire getting over & zipped off through the hay field, only stopping to look back when he got a bit high ground.
At the farmstead, a Little owl was calling noisily & a couple of Magpies chattered.
The next section was pretty uneventful, especially as i set a farm dog off- irritatingly it barked incessantly.
The bridge makes a decent vantage point.
As i waited for an Otter to swim by (no such luck) i watched Noctule & Pipistrelle bats over the river. Silhouetted view of another Little owl & a couple of Tawny juvs heard begging.
If id done better with the Barnies, i probably wouldnt have come this far, & was pleased with the new LO's, but continued round to the old marsh, where the target bird Water Rail called repeatedly. - the water was low, im tempted to go back in the light & see if theres any young.
The walk up out of the valley was uneventful, an adult & juv Tawny on call & a Roe crashed into a spinney from the edge of the Wheat.
A pleasant evening - will be back to pin point those Barnies on a calmer night.