Monday, 12 November 2012

BARN OWL

BARN OWL (TYTO ALBA), A FLY PAST.
Well Saturday was spent pleasing the women of the house (not like that you smutty lot) I still had a list of chores, the worse being the replacement of the guttering at the back of the house which was blocked and during the course of the summer had sprouted it's very own wildflower meadow, I ain't joking, I was worried if I left it any longer it would be declared an SSSI. I also had reservations about doing it as I knew there was a chunk missing from the pipe that my beloved House Sparrow used to get under one of the tiles. After much jigging around I got the old gutter off and replaced the new one, whilst leaving enough room for the watching Sparrow (I kid you not) to get in and out, no sooner had I installed it then the male Sparrow was on the guttering and straight in it's hole, back out again and perched on the guttering and was promptly joined by the female, it worked. By the time my chores were done and had cleaned up and visited the tip there wasn't much time for any serious birding, so I popped down to the Billing Mill pub, not for a pint but for the search of a Kingfisher, apart from a Greywag tail the only Kingfisher I saw were three Latvians illegally fishing for PIKE!! I watched as they took three Pike out of the water, wrapped them up in plastic then placed them in the boot of their car (Latvian number plates) before driving off, I didn't have my camera so no images, but I did call the police,weren't interested!!?? I'll pass the details onto the water bailiff whom I know.
So Sunday was going to be my birding day this week, the weather was promising and I had a plan, normally a fatal mistake, making a plan normally ends up with complete failure. The plan was to go for a walk, avoid nature reserves and the hides (not popular person at the moment...TRUTH HURTS) and get some Barn Owl images.
BARN OWL (TYTO ALBA), A LOVELY SIGHT TO WATCH
I had one site that I haven't visited for ages but had received some info from local fishermen of a Barn Owl and Kingfisher regularly seen around their lake. So I was up early Sunday, it was still dark and was on site before sunrise. Deliberately done so I could get into position before the owl was hunting and not disturb it. On the way to the spot I had a chat with an angler who told me where they had seen the Kingfisher the most and off I went, concentrating for now on the Barn Owl.
The Owl isn't new it's been there for a few years now, but due to the length of walk and the possibility of not getting shots of the bird close enough etc it's often been ignored for easier Owls to photograph. It was just starting to get light and the Owl was already out hunting so I picked a spot best suited for the increasing sunlight, and waited.
I didn't have to wait long, the Barn Owl at first flying past me reasonably high, glancing at me, I resisted taking any images at this point and waited for it to settle back down, it didn't take long, it perched on a post, still looking at me, it flew up and past me (took the top image at this point) again and carried on hunting. I had the company of this Owl for about three hours and in that time saw no-one, bliss. A lot of the time the Owl was hunting a bit too far away for any images but got great view through the binoculars, I managed about 30 images, most I'm not happy with. During that time I saw the bird dive down 17 times, and only once come up with prey in it's talon. The fields are seriously soaked from the rain, so I think it's going to struggle for food, unless things improve. I think in the second and third images some Northants birders might recognise the wooden "lamp post".....
The Kingfisher? It showed exactly where the angler said it had been seen, I was to busy photographing the Barn Owl and on my walk back to the car I didn't see the Kingfisher. I watched from a very distant vantage point, the Kingfisher hovering loads of times and diving into the lake. Typical, but to be fair I'm going to have to dust down the old "dome" hide to get any decent images, which might also come in handy for this particular Barn Owl.
BARN OWL (TYTO ALBA), NOT HAPPY WITH THIS IMAGE

8 comments:

  1. Very nice indeed Doug! I wish I didn't find it so difficult to get up early in the mornings. You may have persuaded me!

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    1. I'm quite lucky as early starts are part of my job, always easier when you got a chance of a Barn Owl though :)

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    1. Thanks Keith wish the last one wasn't "grainy" in the background, and that wooden stump was a pain,never happy :) though the Owl seemed to like it alot.

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  3. Bloody hell mate, grainy?????? You wanna try shooting in the conditions I had this evening, oh for some good light.......please!
    Nice shots Doug.

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    1. I think Tuesday is going to be quite good Paul,fingers crossed for you mate.

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  4. That's a really lovely, deep brown one. I saw a few the other day; one very light and one like yours. I love the deeper coloured ones. Lovely images mate.

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    1. Thanks Christian, I prefer the darker ones too, I remember one really dark one that had flown in from Holland (if I remember right) to Cley before it passed away, that was my favourite ever Barn Owl, REALLY DARK and old if I remember right

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