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

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

nesting Long-eared Owl

March has passed by in a flash - the few evening visits ive made produced regular flight displays & calling from Long-eareds, nothing particularly out of the ordinary although we have seemingly single unpaired male & female birds at 2 new locations.
The final outcome for what we presume to be 3 new pairs discovered over the winter, waits to be seen....

One local contact is in the enviable position of having a hunting Leo along the edge of their garden almost every evening as the light fades....

Our first incubating females are generally located on their old Crow or Magpie nests during the first few days of April - just before the Hawthorn buds burst, hiding them from view.... or that was the case...
The superb (is that really the right word ? - 'worryingly warm' may be more appropriate..) Spring weather has resulted in the thorns greening up quicker than ever this year, not forgetting our summer visiting birds all piling in early too.

None have been noted "sitting" untill yesterday

A quick check to see how things were progressing revealed only a single egg. They are as we suspected over a week behind their usual schedule - despite the warm weather.

On the approach the male tried his hardest not to be detected

If he was a Red Grouse at this point hed be saying "Go Back, Go Back, Go Back......"
Tremendous contortions as he twists his body, partly in an attempt to present more flank & wing camo patterning and also getting ready to head off.

Scoping from a distance a short while later she had returned & was once again sitting - although still slightly unsettled, lifting her head to look around - obscured digi-scoped image showing facial disc.
Within moments though, she settled down & all that was visible was the top of her head & ear tufts blowing in the breeze.

incubating female Long-eared Owl, old Magpies nest in mature Hawthorn tree

while the watch dog male kept an eye on us at all times
anxious male bird
Both sexes have an amazing repetoir of vocalisations, some of the males alarm calls very dog like.

male beginning to relax as we moved away

After this intusion we left the pair in peace, the male also quickly adopting a far more relaxed & contented profile
"And Dont Come Back !" - we wont for a good few weeks.
images & information from various local sources inc JS,WD, DK, MH, MD, JW, GS, AK et al - many thanks to all.