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

Monday, 17 July 2017

Lazy pigs - Stuck on 69

69 pairs of Long-eared Owls have fledged a minimum of 160 young this season in VC66 (Co.Durham).
An impressive number of pairs, although not the best productivity with an average of 2.3 fledged per nest.
Durham Bird Clubs new County Recorder Andrew Kinghorn will be collating all this years data to forward to BTO and Rare Birds Breeding Panel.
Following the guidance notes from the latter, we also have a number of "probable" and "possible" pairs to add to the tally.

A few hardly souls are still trying, but I havnt been able to do much for a week or so - so we are stuck for the moment on 69.

Hopefully we will get a nice big fat round 70 to finish the season....

Lots of great owl images this year - this is one of my favourites :-

This male returning with prey, sits up in the open canopy of a stand of mature Ash on the edge of a Tawny Owl territory. This is the location I had him being harassed while hunting by a Buzzard. We think he's stopping off like this to check "the coast is clear"....? More often than not males just bee-line straight back & make a pass to females or direct to the larger young. 

One of mine - branched youngster in favoured Elderberry - downy body covering not too far away in colouration from the Elder blossom - a good spot to hide during the day.

A couple more from John Gardiner :-
Hiding in plain sight - very easy to walk past - superb camo
and the same bird a few weeks later :-
almost fully developed now - ear tufts growing in nicely.

A cracking image - despite being fully winged, its takes a while for the youngster to perfect the art of flight - they'll quite often choose an open area to roost, allowing easier access - as opposed to thick tangles the adults can get into with ease.
I have watched young "bounce" off Hawthorns springy outer foliage when trying to get in to land - its at this stage they'll prefer a more open perch in Elder, Ash or Birch for example.

Once they hone their flight skills they'll be able to get in & out of the thorn easier - making them a harder prospect to locate - in fact August / September are the times our Leos are seldom seen - roosting together quietly in family parties.

Well, theres time yet to enjoy the remainder of the breeding cycle before things go quiet for a month or two - fingers crossed for #70.

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