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.