Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Owl Prowl

This afternoon I wandered across to Sandwich to an area where a Barn Owl has been hunting regularly.

I was in the area fairly early and as soon as I parked I could hear two Sedge Warblers singing. At this time of year they always seem to sing from deep in a bramble or other thick cover, later when they have established territories they seem to be much bolder and sing from more prominent positions. The first bird that broke cover and sang was this Wren, at first I thought it was the Sedge Warbler moving out of cover, but he was still well hidden and singing loudly.

Next a Whitethroat flew across and another was singing from the other side of the track.

As the Whitethroat dived into cover and the Sedge Warbler carried on singing it realised that one of the regular components in the Sedgies song is the alarm call of the Whitethroat. I wander if this is because they so often next in adjacent areas. The Sedge Warbler in to bushes on the edge of a reed bed or ditch and the Whitethroat in areas just a bit lest associated with water.

Finally the Sedge Warbler gave me a few seconds of views of it sitting in the open. With another singing just 10 metres away it was continuously returning song so it was almost inevitable that I'd eventually get a chance to take a picture. (I don't know if this qualifies for an LBJ Debbie?).

Finally the Barn Owl turned up. I was with Rob McEwan who said that it normally gave a reasonable show, although at a fair distance. Tonight however it didn't hang around long and we could seen it hunting just about 1 km away.

There is something magical about Barn Owls. The numbers still are low and they must have suffered in the hard weather. The more rough areas of set-aside type habitat there is the likely they are to survive. Unfortunately many farms now have very little suitable habitat left, though there are some exceptions.

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