Saturday, 8 September 2012

Barn Owl on my roof!!

There I was in a very light sleep after a rubbish shift at work which included having to wait for a mechanic to change a blown tyre on my truck. Honestly I can't think of a worse place to sit then on a motorway as cars hurtle past at 70+mph, though as I waited I did get to watch a Kestrel having a go at a Buzzard, birding trucker should've been the title of my blog. Though I suspect some might replace the letters "tr" with an "f" in my case...just nodding off when I heard this purring like sound followed by a "shrreek" like call at first the purring made me think some daft cat had climbed up to the window BUT as soon as I heard the "shrreek" call in knew instantly it was a Barn Owl.
Now I've stated a few times I live on a densely populated housing estate in Northampton, sure we have a nice parkland area, where I've had Tawny Owls calling, mostly in early January then again when the young are dispersed from their nests. There is, about two miles from my house, some slightly more rural areas at the back of Moulton Park industrial estate, but I've never seen a Barn owl around there, sure some Little Owls and Buzzards,Red Kites,Tawny owls and Kestrels but no Barn Owl.
I glanced over at the clock 2 a.m. nice one Mr.Owl (I have to admit in my daze I tried hitting the snooze button, just in case I was dreaming, no chance). So I stumbled out of bed slowly pulled the curtains back, I could see a couple of my other neighbours were looking up at my roof, so it was on my roof then. I went down stairs (no flash gun so I didn't bother with camera) went out the back and looked up, sure enough a Barn Owl, screeching away, it kind of reminded me of a wolf howling at the moon. Not a cloud in the sky, it turned around looked at me and flew off it's pale underside lit up by the street lights like a ghostly angel, screeching as it went, I walked back towards the house and it flew overhead again and disappeared towards Moulton park industrial estate. Perhaps it was a juvenile being kicked out of it's nest or maybe the fields that are harvested now have had the vole's disturbed by the activity and it couldn't find any food. Either way a very different and great new bird for my "garden bird list" which now has two species of owls on it.
After work yesterday (7th Sept.) I managed a few hours up at Summer Leys, sadly I can't tell you what was there as no sooner had I sat down a got the binoculars out then two not the small falcon but two army helicopters buzzed right over the hide, rocking the hide, they were so low I could see the army blokes in the back peering out. A bit of a silly move by both pilots as EVERY single bird took to the air right into the flight path of both whirly birds, this included flocks of Greylag Geese, Canada Geese, Little Egrets, Lapwings and Black Headed gulls, luckily no birds were hit and the idiot pilots got to live for another day, but with decision making of flying low over a nature reserve I'm not sure how long they'll live for...numpties. The only images I got were of Reed Warblers and Grey Herons.
I think on my first day off I'm going to look for this Barn Owl, wish me luck lol


  1. What a great garden tick. I'm very envious!! lol
    Cracking shot of the Heron too.

    Pretty stupid of the army pilots.

  2. Well, must have been quite an experience for you to see a rare sighting, but do remember that having birds grow a nest on your roof may be bad for it. The longer they stay there, the higher the risk of your roof getting damaged. Their sharp claws and talons can tear shingles apart. And in some instances, they can poke through it, which can start leaks.

    @Sasha Herrick

    1. Sasha the owl was just passing, and not making a nest, probably a juvenile leaving it's natal site