ive probably made less evening owling visits than in any other year - time is getting on now, so best make the most of the light nights...
Although the weather last night was hardly condusive to standing around in the cold. A very chilly NW breeze (thankfully no volcanic ash that i was aware of) pegging back a cool late May evening of only 6 degrees. So much so that it was fingerless gloves & wooly dut to keep the warm in.
Close to home the Quail sang only briefly & intermitantly & the recent 10 Noctule bats were reduced to only 2, but they were out early. Superb views as they came down low behind the tree covered pools, one changing course rapidly & coming within feet of a feeding Swift. A couple of birds were out & feeding low over the water right up till 22:00.
A Little Owl at its regular spot in an Ash, huddled out of the breeze, with another calling, with a distant Long-eared hunting open ground.
A Barnie sat post hunting in a vole rich pasture for 10 minutes, before moving to quarter along the edge of the plantation out of the breeze, where a pair of Long-eareds live, the female had already been calling every 7 or so seconds for more than quarter of an hour.
Almost as soon as the BO reached the wood edge, a distinctive 'tapping' came closer - the male Long-eared appeared from nowhere at height, wing clapping over the nest site. I turned to see the Barnie had broke off from its sheltered hunting & was making a beeline right out over the wheat, as if trying to put as much space as quickly as he could between him & the Leo.....
The female Leos calls intensified for a short while in responce to her mates presence, he drifted off to hunt the hedgeline & her calls returned to a more regular tempo.
Ive noted wing-clapping throughout the year from this species, obviously most often in late Winter / Spring, but in this scenario im sure it was in direct responce to the Barn owl hunting in such close proximity to the Leo nest.