Tuesday, 9 October 2012

New Barn Owl Site

 Firstly a declaration the images above and below aren't from Northants, they're from North Norfolk, secondly the new Barn Owl site I found last night is remaining undisclosed. I often get asked why not disclose a site, but I often have several reasons. Certain birds (mostly raptors and owls) unless they occur on a nature reserve normally go into the "undisclosed" location, there's alot of people out there who still steal eggs (had it happen to me on one Little Owl site) and some who like to persecute certain birds of prey, secondly sometimes the site is sensitive (private ownership) and I can't guarantee some peoples reaction when they see an owl, I remember Richard Bedford label it as "owl fever" and he was right, I saw when I first started birding at Upton Mill about 30/40 birders chasing a Short eared Owl all round this field every time it settled on the ground or on a post, in the end the Shortie sat on a busy roundabout during rush hour to get away from everyone...NOT GOOD, not to mention how everyone had parked in front of this poor farmers barns blocking him in!!! This ruined any good relations that were had between the farmer and birders which is a shame. The other reason it's staying undisclosed is because I've not had a Barn Owl on this particular site and is obviously a new arrival seeking a new patch to call home.
To be honest I've "birded" this site since I started bird watching and both a friend and I have often remarked and questioned why a Barn Owl isn't on this site, as Barn Owl territories go it's perfect. On the site already is alot of Little Owls (main reason I photograph here), 2 breeding pairs of Buzzards,1 pair of Kestrels, Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers, Great Woodpeckers, Green Woodpeckers, Tawny Owl (arrived January 2012) and Sparrowhawks. It's also quiet, never seen another birder, occasional dog walker and people on horses.
The vole population is very good, if you don't actually see them (which you do) you often hear them either calling or scurrying around, if you're really quiet and still you'll see Badgers too (another reason it remains undisclosed).
I pulled up last night to see how may Mistle Thrush (15) were still on the site parked the car at some stable blocks and I was walked towards a dog walker I knew, the Barn Owl crossed between the two of us, no camera as it was too dark, and it perched on a post, stared at the two of us before carrying on quartering the fields...I was well pleased to see the Owl here it's taken a while and I hope it remains, it should do, there's food in good supply, the fields availiable for it to hunt are about the same in size as the Blueberry farm complex, there's a few old buildings to use for shelter and several good copse's and oak tree's scattered around. There is a bloke who shoots Rabbits and Woodpigeons but considering the number of other species of raptors and owls on the site and Badgers I don't think he's a problem. There isn't to my knowledge a Barn Owl box on the site...maybe one should be erected? Hopefully on my next break from work I'll get some images.


  1. Great shots of this beautiful owl Doug.

    I totally agree with your reasons for not disclosing this site. And a few of the 'birding' fraternity certainly give the rest of us a bad name. Seeing some of their antics first hand are downright embarrassing.

  2. Cheers, the incident I refer to in the post left my with a horrible taste, and as for the farmer I remember some of his emailed response. Richard B. used to give this bloke images for his wall that he had taken, we were always greeted with a smile and short chat, afterwards he just stopped us from parking on his land.

  3. Hi Douglas,

    First of all, I would like to thank you for your time in advising me on processing. It is very kind of you to share your knowledge and experience and I really appreciate it.

    I completely agree with you in not disclosing the site. The tale you tell of the SEO being chased is shocker and any images obtained by these people would surely be tainted with guilt.

    Lovely Norfolk Barn Owl images and good luck at your new (old) site.

  4. Thanks Christian, sadly not one of them had a camera! If you get a chance David Tipling did a good book for the RSPB, covering everything you might need to know about photoshop. I think it was called "A guide to Digital Photography" it has Bald Eagles on the front cover, very good book