Tawny Owl

As the local little owls are a lot happier to be photographed than the tawny owl I do tend to let them appear more often on my blog. Hopefully I can correct that oversight with these photo’s taken recently.

Now I know what to listen for in the woods finding the tawny owl is a lot easier. Whenever one of them is around the other birds kick up a real commotion trying to scare them off. I just tend to follow the noise and sooner or later spot where the owl is being hassled. Magpies and jays will swoop down to try and move them along while the blackbirds just set off their alarm call from nearby branches.

1a (2)

They generally tend to ignore the uproar but will fly off if it gets too much. Most of the time they are just trying to sleep during the day before spending the evening hunting. There are a pair in the woods and there has been at least one owlet spotted, but unfortunately not by me.

If it wasn’t for the other birds alerting me to their presence it would be very hard to spot them as they are very well camouflaged and quite often if you look away they can be hard to re-find as they blend in so well.

1 (2)

 

Great to know they are in my area and one I will always look out for when the blackbirds start sending up the alarm.

Kingfisher Pellets

Yesterday I spent the day photographing kingfishers and was lucky enough to see one regurgitating a pellet. They do this a couple of times a day to get rid of fishbones and other indigestible remains from their fishy diet.

1a

It took some bringing up before a flick of the head sent it into the grass.

1

Barn Owl

Until recently I’d never seen a barn owl in the flesh but watched one in very poor light hunting whilst at Bempton cliffs. They are beautiful birds to observe quartering over their chosen hunting ground. On Sunday I saw my second one and this time managed to get some, admittedly poor pictures.3d

It’s bad news when the best picture you have of a bird is its back end as it flies away. These are definitely ones to file under “Record shot” and the barn owl has been added to the target list.3f

 

Little Egret v Black headed Gulls

This little egret was out for a quiet Sunday morning spot of fishing when the local hoodlums in the shape of three black headed gulls decided to spoil his day.

_X0A0908

At first he was ignoring them carrying on trying to feed and ducking out of the way when they got too close.

_X0A0901

But eventually he’d decided enough was enough and started to stick up for himself.

_X0A0927

As with all bully’s they eventually back down and he let them know who was in charge before wandering off and carried on looking for a spot of lunch.

2f

Sedge Warbler

The reed beds at the weekend were full of these guys singing away at the top of their voices. It seemed to be territorial as they were flying up into the air before landing and starting the singing again.

2b

400 Year Wait Is Finally Over

Spoonbills haven’t nested regularly in the UK since the 1700s, but in recent years they have slowly been expanding their range north and returning to Britain once again. These birds are regularly seen along the east coast of England, and there is a breeding colony in East Anglia. However this year has seen them breed in Yorkshire for the first time in 400 years with three chicks fledging at the RSPB site Fairburn Ings. As they generally tend to only lay 3 eggs all three hatching is a real success.
Due to their rarity the spoonbill is a protected species in the UK, and the successful breeding at Fairburn Ings had been kept secret until earlier this week. This success can be put down to the excellent work of everyone on the reserve who have created a suitable habitat for what will hopefully become a new Yorkshire resident.

1d

I’d never seen a spoonbill till this morning when I went to another Yorkshire wetland site half hoping to see one of these enigmatic creatures. They are regularly seen at Blacktoft Sands but I was told I was unlikely to see one as they generally feed here in the afternoon. So I was amazed to see this one right in front of the first hide I ventured into. No time to check the camera setting just fire away before it departed.

They use their distinctive beak to sweep through the water filtering up any shrimp, fish or crustaceans they disturb. the beak snaps shut as soon as suitable food hits the inside.

1

Great to see these birds beginning to spread throughout the UK but it is probably a result of global warming as their more usual sites in Southern Europe dry out.

1e

More Little Owls

Yesterday lunchtime I got up close and personal with the local Little Owl and then realised I hadn’t got my camera!!!! So I returned in the evening and was rewarded with a real treat. I’d driven up close using my car as a hide and the owl didn’t seem at all perturbed as it basked in some glorious late evening sunshine.

1k

After about ten minutes posing the owl began calling and at first I thought that maybe I was stressing it out and was about to beat a hasty retreat when the mate arrived.

1g

Within seconds the first owl had flown but the new arrival continued soaking up the sun and after having a good scratch almost nodded off.

1m

I’ve never got close enough for pictures like these so hopefully they’ll get used to the car and allow me to get this close soon.