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

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Big Wind, Little Owl

Dont know how those folk manage on the other side of the Atlantic....
we only get the very tail end of their weather & it brings death & destruction...

Yesterday the gales abated somewhat and it was realy quite pleasant out of the breeze, particularly in the warm sun - this brought out a number of butterfly including Red Admiral, Wall, Small Tortoishell, Small Copper & Speckled Wood, with a small number of Darters & Hawkers in the damper spots.

They werent the only ones out in the sunshine - a family of Little Owls had found a nice sheltered spot & were basking in the warmth.

Every now & then the 2 youngsters would drop onto the ground for items before returning to roost blissfully in the sun with very heavy eyes.

Sitting so conspiciously they drew the attention of several passing species which alarmed & mobbed them to various degrees - Yellowhammer, Robin, Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Blackbird & Willow Tit all in attendance - with the Blackbird im not sure if it was a case of the owl being mobbed or the thrush being hunted !, as the Little flapped about & clambered through the scrub. (  twice we've noted local Blackbird as a LO prey item )

The adults were far more active & attentive - not allowing as close an approach.
A Collared Dove came in to land close to the family, but had an adult owl on its tail before it had chance to touch down - they appear to be feisty little things at times.

Very soon the excitement was over, a quick call to reassure the youngsters & it was time for another 40 winks.....

This was towards the edge of their territory & exactly the spot were they had tried to nest before a box was supplied for them.
The previous attempt failed & the owls disappeared for a good while (a single reappeared within the year, but it was 18 month before a pair were re-established in the territory) after the rabbit hole they were using was mistakenly dug out by terrier-men.
I wouldnt have thought it would be long before the youngsters are leaving to try to find their own home ranges....


Christian said...

Love the fourth shot. The red in photograph makes for a colourful composition.

Stevie Evans said...

There does seem to be a good crop of berries this year - pleased you like the shot - i took a lot, most i had to bin as the light was too bright ! ... for a change !
Just been looking at your blog - you have some great flight shots, looking forward to seeing some more.

Christian said...

Too bright! Not something we have to 'put up with' very often! Thanks for looking Stevie - It's very good, this owl lark isn't it!

Richard Pegler said...

Hi Stevie. Nice, for a change, to see you post something about a species that I dont get too envious about!!! Great story and some nice images too! I've heard about LOs in rabbit holes but not found one yet. So far, all mine are in trees or old buildings - not even found one in a rock face crevice yet!

Stevie Evans said...

Steady On Christian! "Owl Lark !!!" - keep THAT one on the quiet or we'll be inundated with rampaging hordes... =)

Richard from the looks of it you have some good quality farmland habitats down there with plenty of mature trees & old farm buildings, which id imagine will be preferred sites nationally.
Have had birds in roosting / breeding in piles of rocks, rubbish, under a house eaves, coastal cliffs, upland dry stone walls, in roof insulation whilst factory was under construction, WWII Pill Boxes, abandoned curtain-sided trailer & a very loud one on a farm inside an old fashioned wooden treshing machine !