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

Saturday, 5 March 2011

once upon a time thousands of years ago....

Heres a very long range picture of a local Barn Owl sitting asleep outside the entrance to his roost hole

                                                               here its............................ ^

When we were covered in trees however many thousand years ago, the distribution & abundance of our Barn owls must have been different, surely very limited in range & numbers.....

I remember reading ( & cant find the book, nevermind the paragraph & reference ! ) that Limestone Cliffs & Caves are the birds natural home.
The images taken last summer illustrate just how well the birds blend in with the similarly coloured limestone

We are on the edge of the Durham Magnesium Limestone Plateau here at home, just below the escarpment. This broken ridge has numerous quarries & sand pits, sometimes used by Barn Owls.

Some of these locations are actively being worked for stone, others have been abandoned for decades.
Even in this supposedly enlightened age, some are infilled, being used as rubbish dumps & moto-X bikes, thankfully other have classifications & sometimes nature reserves - more so for their very specialised flowers & plants, rather than birds.
Habitats unique to the Durham Magnesian Limestone Natural Area, magnesian limestone grassland and the coastal denes have a rich variety of wildlife, supporting 13 nationally scarce plants and 84 nationally scarce invertebrates. Magnesian limestone grassland species include Northern Brown Argus, Glow-worm and Dark-red Helleborine. These species, along with the Barn Owl, are all priority species in the Durham Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP).