Category Archives: Owl

Ash Tree Post Surgery

Pictures of the ash tree post surgery. We are really pleased with what the tree surgeons have done and hope this bit of work will prolong the life of the tree over all. The owls don’t seem bothered and were back within a day or two of the work being done.

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Adey’s Baby Little Owl Photos

Adey's Baby Little Owl Photos

Lovely shot from Adey of our juvenile Little Owls.

 


Spring Wildlife

This weekend just gone was beautiful. Lovely clear crisp mornings and sunny days. The clocks went forward too, giving us longer evenings. Last night was the first time in months we’d been able to go out on the plot after work. We’re still chipping away at the weeding around the raspberries in preparation for a new layer of woodchip in the area.
On Sunday morning we walked the dog on the fields and on the way were lucky enough to see a grass snake, looked like a male judging from a quick google search. I think we disturbed its sunbathing.
It’s also hare spotting time now and in the view across one field we were lucky enough to see 5 hares.
The little owl is also around and busy. Chances are the female will already be sitting on eggs so we’re going to put the camera back up in around 3 weeks to see if we can catch some owlet action again this year.

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Little Owl Fledgling Videos

I’ve finally managed to wade through the 377 clips of the owls that we caught on the camera when we put it outside the nest hole that Paul and Daz found. I’ve tried to narrow them down a bit and sort them into catagories but I wouldn’t be offended if anyone watching these turns off halfway through…

First one is clips of the actual nest hole:

the next is clips of one owlet by itself, with a bit of practise flying and checking the camera out:

and then there were two:

getting crowded now:

feeding time, mmm enormous worms:

and a couple of clips of mum and or dad, not sure, check out the difference between the fluffy headed babies and the rather more stern plummage of the adults:


Little Owlets

I spent the day on the plot yesterday doing bits and pieces in between the torrential rain showers (whippet made happy with new pillow in her polytunnel bed) and the only soles i saw were Paul the Owl Man and his buddy Daz who turned up to check the Little Owl chick situation. I had been listening for screeching chicks for a couple of weeks now but only started hearing them during the last week and yesterday too, so i was confident something was happening.

Ladders were soon up the tree and their flexible wireless camera was investigating the main hole. However, norhing obvious except one adult bird (amazing to see on a little screen that close up, like Springwatch but better). The cavern in the main hole is big and has a couple of holes off it going up into the tree. Paul and Daz could both reach the bird but couldn’t identify aby thing else in there. There are a couple of other holes around the tree so the ladder was moved round accordingly untl finally the smallest and most difficult hole to get to was reached. Daz was first up and the camera immediately identified an owlet. After some poking around it was clear that there were 3! Yay, so pleased they have been successful this year! They are quite big and almost ready to fledge. Z and I both got up the ladders to have a look ourselves and you can see them without the camera when the camera light is facing them.

I took the opportunity to go and get my bushcam and have strapped it to a branch very close to the hole on a video setting. It’s wedged by a bit of stick to get the angle right so hopefully if it doesn’t move we should get some video. I had tried to get owl video before but obviously had it facing the wrong hole, duh. When you get up there the stink and the poo all over the branches is enough to give it away! Will know for next year…


Little Owls

You may have picked up that we are very,very lucky and have a pair of little owls living in the big ash tree on our plot. We see them often, one or the other or both most evenings when we are out there at dusk time. Last year they raised a brood too.

This evening I learnt loads more about these amazing birdies when Paul, Leicestershire owl man extraordinaire, came over to log the site as part of his exercise in cataloging local little owl nesting sites. He also bought his camera in case he was able to get some shots. I was pessimistically thinking they wouldn’t show and I’d look like a fibber, but luckily they did, although that was only really after Paul’s phone, with owl call ringtone, went off to be fair. So, anyway, I have learnt loads this evening, in summary, the following:

1. Little owls live for 3 to 4 years

2. They are very loyal to their nesting sites and generation after generation of families will use a site year after year

3. They usually sit on 4 eggs, with 2 or 3 hatching and 1 or 2 making it to fledge. The hen is likely to be laying at the moment and will start sitting very soon, at h point she is unmovable and you can ring her (more about that in a mo). The incubation period is 4 weeks and the young will make their first entrance out of the nest at around 3 weeks. For this whole time the male will be feeding the hen and then the hen and young.

4. They mainly eat beetles, worms, voles, mice and shrews and love our plot because there is short grass in which to find beetles and worms and an area of rough grass to find the rodents. We also have loads of fence posts that they will use to sit on. Their hunting territory is very small as they have everything they need locally.

5. We need to put up a perch about a foot under the nesting hole (which is halfway up the tree) to help fledgling birds find their wings. At the moment they just drop out the hole and fall to the floor, which is not ideal. We also need to move a pile of sticks and logs to under the hole to give them a hiding place if they do fall out.

So anyway, back to this evening, basically, while chatting about the nest site Paul’s phone went off and soon after the male owl flew across in front of us and into the other tree we often see him in. Paul said the chances were he had come out with a view to defending his territory and that she would still be in the tree. We saw where he landed in the tree and Paul managed to get a couple of shots. He got some more a bit later, when he managed to get much closer. He said that the owl was very comfortable and was obviously used to us being around a lot. I was amazed he spotted him again, they are so well camouflaged. I’m on to him now though, I know where he spies us from.

Paul wants to come back to get some better photos, hopefully with them exiting the nesting hole (ideally with vole in beak!) and also in flight if possible, which would be AWESOME. It would seem because the sun sets facing the hole, the light is quite good for photography. He is going to try to come back tomorrow afternoon to put up the perch for them and maybe set up a hide so they get used to it before he takes the photos. Also, the other very exciting thing is that he has a bit of kit that I want to call an endoscope but I know that can’t be right, but it’s basically a camera on a cable attached to a screen that you can put down the hole and see what’s going on, so he’s going to bring that too. He also thinks that we should be able to ring them, hopefully the mum and any owlets that they manage to hatch! Ace 🙂

So all in all, a pretty good evening for owl related activity! He has a blog (see the links page) and we’ll be an entry on that, we are number 163, with the amazing photo above. We are so lucky, we see something nearly everyday that most people are lucky to see in the wild once a lifetime. That’s me counting my blessings for the day…


Moody Broody

I dunno…..women!!

Lucy has been inconsistent in her sitting efforts to put it mildly.

On the eggs, fuss with the straw, look out at Pierre, bored with the eggs, off for a swim….what was I doing again…etc etc.

This slap dash attitude to raising offspring seems to be catching, as Virginia seemed to ‘have a day off’ on Saturday preferring to splash around and get covered in mud. Both are back on now, but we candled last night and nothing is developing yet.

We are going to leave it a week and candle again to see if they just hadn’t started properly. We have just received some goose eggs in the post, so we will add those to Lucy’s original brood and see what happens in a week. We will then throw out any non developers.

So truly don’t count your chickens until they have hatched. Part of me thinks we may have tried to get V going a bit too early. Good news is that Vita is laying again.

Becky meets the owl man tonight to learn more about our little owls, hopefully she will blog about it tomorrow.