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Tuesday, 7 August 2018

The Court of Owls*

I shouldn't say that 'it never rains but it pours' after the summer we have had but from a birding point of view that's exactly what I experienced last night.

It started as I went to bed at about 11.30. Obviously in this weather we have been sleeping with the window open so I was quite pleased to slip into the arms of Morpheus listening to a regular calling Little Owl somewhere on the set aside and quite loud. Little Owl have been scarce locally for the last few years so I was really pleased to have confirmation that some of the birds were still about.

I must have slept for a couple of hours but my subconscious mind seems to be permanently on alert for bird calls so I was not surprised to find myself awakened at about 01.30 by the screeching call of a female Tawny Owl. What did surprise me was the response to the call by at least two male Tawny Owls. Both seemed a little subdued and uncertain in their hooting which makes me suspect that they were two young birds. I have had this type of family outing happen before and on that occasion managed to see an adult fly past the bedroom window.

You wont be surprised to know that I snuck out of bed with my billion candlepower torch in an attempt to see one or more of the birds, incidentally doing a fair impersonation of the World War Two searchlight battery that used to occupy the recreation ground. It was not to be, the birds were obviously on the distant tree line around the recreation ground so none were seen. Unbelievably though, while I was trying to see the Tawny Owls I heard the unmistakable hissing of a Barn Owl somewhere close by (probably on the set aside).

Three owls in a couple of hours is not bad going for anyone but I eventually had to give up and return to sleep as there was an early morning in the offing.

Still, it proves that the species are still hanging on locally, its just a shame that I cant do all my birding while lying in bed! - Chaz

*P.S. If you understood the 'Court of Owls' reference, your as big a geek as I am!