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

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Familiarity breeds...

Ive wandered around OFFH (on foot from home) on & off for a decade.
Winter is The Season here, we're Spoilt rotten. The Five, along with another 105 bird species by the end of January means there's always something to look for.
This year I thought I'd pay attention to some lesser known paths & see what surprises lay unfound.
Despite strong coverage, we still manage to turn up new pairs of Leos every couple of years, & keep an open mind as landscapes change & evolve.
However, a seemingly conspicuous & easily located bird like Little Owl.... well you'd presume they were all bagged & tagged by now...
Close to the very well known Bog, there are several Parts unknown & these have looked "super-owly" in passing.
 A recent recce found asio pellets along the fenceline & a single Bigg Luggs in Elderscrub close by.
The same visit produced a Woodcock feeding out in the open, which I managed to photograph. (link below).
This "finding" is what motivates me & I planned to come back over.
A week later & I was back in the same area, I had a Jack Snipe on the ground, but stepped back to enable a photo & put up another which i nearly trod on. Both vanished...
Surely a good omen, Woodcock last time, Jack Snipe this - I dreamed of a big Leo roost along the way...
The woods proved to be not so fruitful & I headed up a hedgerow. Approaching a fine Ash I looked up to be met with a very disgruntled Little Owl. His mate sat in a crack in the next tree along.
You could have blown me over, I've been past here with the family & never gave it a glance - what a surprise a new pair of Littles.
With 50 or more pairs in this 10km sq, I thought we'd found a good few, especially pleased with this being only about a mile or so from home.
I managed a digi-binned picture & its gone down well on Flickr with 9,000 views in a few days !"

So hopefully there'll be less familiarity & more owls in the coming year.


Paul Riddle said...

Steady on Stevie, two posts already this year, whats going on? Good to see you are "back" and finding more new owl sites, that Little Owl image in the hole is top notch mate....

Richard Pegler said...

As Paul says, twice already, and January only just over half way! There's hope yet that you'll keep us inspired for the rest of this year.

50 pairs of LOs in a 10 km square is one heck of a tally for a northern location. I'm more than impressed!

Happy owling - - - - Richard