Friday, 1 July 2016


Again last night the weather was lousy.  However my 'gardening leave' was over and summoned to a meeting at work. I knew this was an axe falling on neck meeting. But there was a fair bit of contract negotiations to take place, they wanted me to pay for the training course, I didn't. They owed me a fairly chunk of wages, they believe they didn't.
However despite being sacked (unbelievably a first for me) everything went in my favour. Which was lucky, a fellow colleague and mate left to work for Fortec and wasn't so lucky and is being pursued for £3000+ it was a tense meeting and I'm sad to go. I've watched a company (Norbert Dentressangle) go from highly rated company , being taken over by yanks (now xpo logistics) and in Northamptons case being ran into the ground by management who still think they're in the army and have no man management skills, pity.
So despite the on/off drizzle I went to the valley.
Huge column of Swifts were gathering overhead, shame about the skies, in fact I haven't had much time with swifts this summer thanks to the lousy weather.
Plenty of Swallows too, yet in my normal locations Swallows have been in short supply along with House Martins. One location (a friends farm) last year we had 26 birds in site, this year 2 pairs (4)!!!!. Not much better at my other spots.  What happened to Swallows this year?
So to ol'faithful..the barnie. It was as usual hunting the field nearest to the farm (too far for images). I watched and enjoyed. It didn't seem to be in a hurry to return to the nest and kept returning with food to a tree near the river bank. Had the young fledged or was it feeding itself? After an hour and it failing to return to the nest I opted to head home as I did a cyclist stopped and asked was I trying to photograph the Barn Owl and he pointed out it just flew behind me. I'll be honest I thought he was taking the piss, no way could it have flown behind me and not see it approach. But being polite I turn round and Barn Owl in the field behind the station??? I went back to the bridge and was watching it when something caught my eye but again behind me...the second owl
 I'd never seen both hunting at the same time. My suspicion of fledged owls was confirmed when the owl that was quartering the field behind the station returned to the tree adjacent to the nest box with prey went into the trunk area (couldn't see what or how many due to vegetation) of the tree. I could hear just a faint screech and the adult bird was out. The owl that was extremely busy hunting nearest to me kept returning to the same tree near the stream/back of the field with prey and kept coming straight back out. They've definately fledged, how many I'm not sure but at least two. Just in time too as it's the Holowell steam festival and it was at this time last year we started to have issues at the nest box with out of town visitors. Hopefully it won't be the end of the owl activity but it was last year :-(
Best of a bad bunch of images then. This is the pose I've been after, just wish the light was better and a bit sharper too.

Ever so slightly different lol


  1. Sorry to hear of your trials and tribulations. I hope it all sorts itself out. The owl looks wonderful.

    1. Cheers Adrian the good thing is there's more hgv vacancies than hgv drivers so should sort itself out

  2. I hope you get things sorted on the job front Douglas and are soon back in the!
    Great images of the barnies, it's good to know that they're doing well in your area, hopefully the trend will continue?...[;o)

    1. Thanks Trevor, in regards to the job I start with an agency a week on Monday so all good there. This particular Barnie is a surprise only it's second year here but seems to be doing OK despite its location

  3. Delighted to hear the good news about the Barnies, Doug. Your images of them might not be close-up portraits, but they convey the action and environment far better than any close-up portrait could do. I'd love to have been there to see the action.

    Sorry to hear about the job. I sense that your glad to be out of it, but the uncertainty for the future must be a bit unsettling all the same. I hope you get on well with agency work.

    Wishing you all the best for the future - - - Richard

    1. Watching the action was brilliant and seems Barnies are doing quite well the moment and last night I found another owl at a new location but a bit of a worrying location-more to follow.
      Yeah I'm happy to get out of the current contract. The uncertainty is nothing compared to what was going on with the last contract. I'm looking forward to the new challenges