The next site I visited was my site No 81 not far from the village of Peatling Magna, my last sighting of an owl here was back in November 2010, so why was this site on my radar? The reason was a call I had in the week from my mate Adey. He had located some juvenile owls roosting in a tree and thought it may be a new site for me? We discussed his wear abouts and I explained that the area he was describing use to be one of my sites but the owls had deserted it because the old roadside barn where they use to reside in had been renovated. The birds he had located were only a 100 yards away from the barn so it was too much of a coincidence that they weren't my owl family from site No 81.
I approached the tree in question with caution and drove past very slowly, as I came level with it a juvenile Little Owl sat out on a perch bold as brass! I didn't stop to grab an image as all my kit was on the passenger seat and all the fumbling around could well have spooked it? Instead I continued along the road, and as soon as possible I pulled over got my camo netting up at the window and camera at the ready, a slow re-approach was then made.
I pulled up next to the tree on the adjacent grass verge, dam the owl had gone! I sat quietly watching and hoping for its return, then a movement up in the tree grabbed my attention, it was the juvenile owl and there was three of them! The next hour was spent watching as they clambered around the tree, the photo condition weren't brilliant as it was very shady under the branches but never the less I managed to capture shots of two of the juveniles, my first ever images from this site.
What good news is was that the evicted owls had managed to find a suitable nest site so near to the barn and then breed. Brilliant to catch up with them again after so long, nice one Adey!
The next location that offered some good views and photo opportunities was my site No 19, upon arrival all was very quiet and no birds were seen. This is my first visit here this year and I wasn't even sure if the owls were still here? After checking out all the "usual" perching/day roosting spots both adult owls were eventually and unusually located up high in the nest tree. They were obscured by branches so no images were possible at this stage. Then one of the adults dropped down onto the track and picked up a beetle, it then returned back to a lower branch in the tree and surprise surprise a juvenile popped out from where I couldn't see it to be fed.
The action of the adult was then copied by the juvenile, it too dropped down onto the track but it wasn't quite as proficient at finding any food. This suited me as it lent for some nice photo opportunities as it hopped around on the ground.
Then a second juvenile appeared from nowhere and joined its sibling on the ground. I can only assume this must be what they do for most of the day and me turning up in the Landrover had disturb them somewhat?
At times they would come very close, they even went underneath the Landrover on a couple of occasions!
A superb day for watching owls, three more sites with confirmation of breeding success and in total I actually saw Little Owls at 7 different sites with a grand total of 26 different birds seen and one daytime Barn Owl, images of that to follow......
Thanks for visiting.