October 23, 2010

As the nights draw in, the owls are in the ascendant. Throughout the summer, the Barns Owls have been the most regularly seen – their buoyant, effortless hunting flight and creamy colour marking them out. A number of pairs hunt over the river meadows. Their territories are large and often seem to overlap one another. Individuals become recognisable – there is a large mostly white (presumably) female which seems to have been about for several seasons and she contrasts with the male which is both smaller and boats a richer caramel and cream combination. Last night in the car, we approached a Barn Owl drinking from a puddle in the road – obviously unaware of our presence, it lifted off effortlessly and into the darkness over Mr Crane’s meadows.

 In the late September evenings the Tawny Owls start to call more to define their home territory. The separate calls of “kew-ick “ from the female in the dead Elm at the top of the hill being answered by the “hu..oooo” of the male. They rarely appear during the daylight hours – I only usually find them when I follow the occasional cacophony of Jays and Blackbirds when they ‘mob’ the sleeping owl into evasive action (and in many cases they are mobbing a cat not an owl).


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