Sunday, 17 March 2013

RAIN, GREY SKIES AND A BARN OWL

Well despite the heavy showers and really grey skies I couldn't stay in, the F1 race/qualifying session highlights were going to be short and very little information gleamed on how the teams have done during the winter, plus not being a SKY fan means it's BBC all season, also I'm not a big fan of the new presenter Suzan Perry during her MOTOGP days she said "welcome to MotoGP were overtaking is allowed, is actively encouraged and isn't a dull procession, yes I would rather be here then at the F1 circus...or should that be a procession"....so how much money did it take to get you to F1 Miss Perry?
Sorry a big motorsport fan since I was kid... I digress...I couldn't stay indoors giving up the evil weed has given me some undiscovered vitality plus the exercise seems to calm down my nicotine urges. So off I went.
First up since it was piddling down I decided to check on some of my Little Owl sites, these could be done from the car (great exercise lol) out of the piffling four sites I could check from the car I could only locate one pair, nesting in a hollow part of the tree, any decent images blocked by a lleylandi tree or two, this site is better once the juveniles leave the nest site and both adult and juveniles venture away from the nest. It was always going to be a case of drawing a blank in the day so wasn't to disappointed. I needed some images and with the horrible sky and wind I was struggling to figure what to photograph, surely not gulls, it was the only thing I could think of, the white plumage up against a grey sky can provide a nice contrast, there was occasional breaches of the grey with the odd bit of sun poking through....but it didn't last long with another shower rattling through...perhaps some ol' fashioned birding, the scope was in the boot so pulled into a gravel layby, that to be honest looked like some weird fly tipping site, even a rotting/putrid lamb carcass was there, boy did it stink.
So I was stumped and was scanning the tree canopy of a nearby "private" wood, Buzzard, 2 Redkites and a distant Kestrel when I hear the scrunching of gravel and a Skoda pulls in "looks like the police" I thought, the car pulled up level..nope two blokes in army fatigues...err!
First bloke gets out "what you doing then?" "birdwatching" "oh great, we've got a barn owl that keeps coming onto the base", "no chance of coming onto the base" "nah, you're kidding, but it does come from......" and shed loads of details come forth, it was always a long shot of getting into the base, I've only ever seen cadets going training in there, but rumours have it that it's a bit more then that and given the level of security around the base and the  how quickly someone came and checked me out, makes you wonder, nice army chap though and pre-loaded with shed loads of info off I went. Very aware it could be an elaborate lie just to get me to move on and when I pulled up I was wondering if I had been mugged off.
BARN OWL (TYTO ALBA), GREY SKIES CAN WORK SOMETIMES....

I went and chatted to the farmer "no, clear off"..oops as I turned off he shouted about farm machinery and barns, I told him I had no intentions of going in the barns and wanted images of the Barn Owl hunting, "Oh Barn Owl, not the Little Owls" so a rather odd conversation took place and when I made my plans clear the farmer apologised for the misunderstanding, I even got a cuppa of tea and sarnie from his wife, funny how things work out sometimes, but it turns out the Barn Owl is using an old "outbuilding" for a roosting site with box in place but no mate and has been around the farm without a mate for the last two years, yet there has been a pair for the 8 years, which is quite old for a wild Barn Owl, the Little Owls are nesting in a roof space in a barn attached to the main farm house. apparently he got a box but was too busy with the farm to put it up in time, and was telling me how they had lost two juveniles because some numpty birder had wandered in, the adults fled, knocking two to the ground. I fully sympathised with the farmers initial "attitude" and I promised him no revelations of the sites location but warned him the Army blokes told me, and apparently they told the other birder too however it doesn't excuse the behaviour of the other birder, I mean I wouldn't be too happy if a random stranger started to poke and nosey around my garage or property, I don't understand why some people don't obtain permission and check out with landowners etc if it's ok to check a site out first. The only two images I'm posting are sky shots for now as the ones of it hunting are either not very sharp due to lack of shutter speed or provide clues to it's location.
One thing I will say is I've never "birded" this area and after driving around/home/lost stumbled across a few other sites wort checking out. So more to follow....if I can be bothered to drive that far again.
BARN OWL (TYTO ALBA), RAIN,RAIN, GO AWAY AND COME BACK ANOTHER DAY...ETC!

12 comments:

  1. An excellent day out serendipity strikes again.

    Suzy Perry!! What has Formula 1 come to? She is easy on the eye but not a favourite commentator of mine.

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    1. Thanks Adrian, no she didn't make a good impression on me either sadly

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  2. Douglas, Like you I don't subscribe to Sky so I guess I'll have to just grin and bear the beeb's reduced coverage of the new F1 season!...as for Ms. Perry?.. first impressions are that she's her number one best fan!! Fortunately, having worked in motor racing for many years, I can normally see through all the waffle and get a good idea of what's really happening.

    A strange turn of events there, with the army guys and the farmer! at least you came away with a 'new' site so maybe a chance for some more visits in the future?

    Not a bad outcome judging by the shots you've posted here...[;o)



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    1. Definately will be going back but avoiding the army base :) Yeah I think BBC sport is a seriously depleted departmet of the BBC even the Grand National is to switch to Channel 4, funny it's a woman who's head of the department last time I checked

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    2. I am only a bit daft....It's the cars I watch and she only fills the gaps when they aren't doing anything. Better her than Eddie Jordan.
      Stop moaning you two and just revel in the cars and Suzy. I mute the sound when she is on.... she is like many ladies, sound spoils them.

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    3. I have to admit liking EJ though, I know he's a bit shouty and some say arrogant, but as kids we always got into his Grand Prix party when Jordan racing was based opposite Siverstone during the British GP...nit many teams would do that these days. Though he was responsible for Katie Price aka Jordan

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  3. Lovely flight images, Doug. The light on the owl itself is lovely.

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    1. Cheers Christian, I got lucky with a break of clouds behind me and the sun poking through (and a bit of tweaking in photoshop) to illuminate the owl, I like doing grey skies/break in the clouds when it works out you get a nice contrast.

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  4. What a combo, barnies in good light! Nice set Doug.

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    1. Cheers Paul, a bit of photoshop on the grey skies behind the barnie and sun poking behind through the clouds beehind me...got lucky:)

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  5. An interesting day indeed and some great souvenirs to bring home too! I reckon you'll be going back!

    I managed to miss the F1 on Sunday. I was going to watch it on iPlayer but after what's been written above I'm beginning to wonder whether I'll bother!

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    1. Cheers Richard, I would still bother watching F1, just fast forward Suzi Perry or put it on mute.

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