Saturday, 25 February 2012

Owl Activity

Saturday 25th February 2012
While I was pottering in the greenhouse early afternoon, I heard Sue's voice urgently beckoning me. Now, Sue and Gerry like to play chase around the garden. Gerry has the distinct advantage in that he can do vertical. As Sue tapped the Ash tree to encourage him back down, out flew a barn owl, which circled the garden before heading off over the fields. I know they used to roost up in this tree, the biggest and oldest of the four, but there is now a large hole in the trunk which would make a perfect home for a little family of owls. Probably wishful thinking, but I think there's a chance. If Gerry ever finds them, I'm sure he'll get the shock of his life, and maybe a bloody nose to boot!
Later in the afternoon the Little Owl started calling from deep within the hedge again, but this time it was clearly answered by another.
Having endured a Northern European winter, these owls are now on territory and ready to breed early in the year. Other bird species opt to head for warmer climes with more bountiful food, but the pay off is a later arrival on their breeding grounds, not to mention two risky migrations.
On that subject, it won't be too long now before the first of our summer visitors starts to trickle back into the country. Maybe a new species or two for the farm this spring? A repeat of last year's two Black Redstarts and flood of Wheatears would be most welcome. Or even a new species for my British list?

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