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

Thursday, 22 June 2017

42 - 20th June 2017

Pairs of Leo confirmed with young this season in Co.Durham

Credit to young Foghorn Kinghorn confirming pair #42 after a foot-slog round a central area.

More a surprising record was Hilary Chambers weighing in with a family party way, way up Teesdale - no confirmation of breeding records in Upper Teesdale in recent years, so that was a very noteworthy deliver of pair #41.

I was housebound last night & the weather was poor anyway... surely we will set a new confirmation of breeding record this evening....?


Some snippets & BiggLuggs craic.

Ive picked up a fair number of pairs in the north west, during a couple of "all nighters".
It never really gets dark, in fact I had a Swallow out singing & flying at Tanfield at 02:50 am.

I had one very active family with 3 juvs had a male Tawny calling in their copse with the Tawny young begging 100m away.
This is more commonplace than folk imagine. As long as there is plenty prey items & plenty of cover then the two will co-habit without much friction. (Scott notes this as the norm in Nth Nottinghamshire).
I have 1 wood where I have both TO & LEO having used the site for 20 years - 2 compartments only 200m apart, the LEOs in the Norway Spruce, Tawnies in mixed Scots Pine. I have seen interaction & even flying skirmishes here, one instance the Leo pair working together had the Tawny in knots, flying out over a road in an aerial duel in the half light.

Warden Dinsley has a great clip of a food-pass, this is a male to female pass. She immediately shoots off to feed the branched young. As the young start to shadow the hunting male she will remain on watch till the youngest is flying out. The young wait till dusk to fly out following the adults - at which time they can be very curious - ive had them try to land on myself & telescope in the past. Difficult to observe a family hunting "as a unit" but have recorded it a handful of times in 2 decades.
At this point - they can end up closer to another pairs nest site than they are to their own, often muddling the breeding picture.
Ive had 8 juvs all begging in the same area at the convergence of two territories - a confusing scenario had we not found both nests that April

I had a female alarm call as I approached a set of 5 juvs - she gave canine alarm calls & tried to distract me by flying onto the ground to continue feline & canine like calls. The young knew instantly to cease begging & I walked back - she very cleverly keeping me within view, calling & "leading" me away. After 5 mins I re-approached & watched the juvs being fed.

Pic of begging youngster from a 3 brood doing well, being studied by Long John Gardiner.

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