Little Owls part 2

28th August 2012
In between all my motorsport and aviation events I managed to fit in a couple more visits to the Little Owls with my good friend Paul. On our previous visits we noticed the female bird was busy going back and forth to the nest site with food for the chicks, she had nested in one of the office building roofs which had a small hole in the fascia. All seemed fine at first until we noticed swarms of Bees buzzing around at the entrance of the nest site, we wasn't sure if this would be a problem or not but it was a tad worrying knowing how curious young Owls are. It would only take one of the chicks to disturb the Bees nest for them to attack.

On arriving at the site we scanned the area but there was no sign of the Owls so the waiting game began again. We sat passing the time away watching the nest entrance and it wasn't looking good for the Owls, the swarm had grown larger and we were thinking there was no way the young Owls would get away without being stung at some point, survival for them didn't look good.

A few hours passed and there wasn't any sign of the Owls, we was just thinking about having a look around the site when all of a sudden the female appeared. We haven't a clue where she came from but she'd done a brilliant job of hiding from us.. :-)





She was doing her normal routine of hunting worms but wasn't going back to the nest when she caught one,in fact,she was just eating them and it wasn't long before she'd had her fill and flew off. This got us to thinking that the young had indeed perished due to the Bees, we was of course hoping this wasn't the case.

We decided to call it a day and were just about to leave when we spotted the male Little Owl by the road, he's never as active as the female and we never once saw him take food back to the nest. Why he doesn't do any of the parenting duties is a mystery but it could have something to do with his bad eye. The poor little chap looks to have either been hit by a car or flown straight into a window, the eye trauma is bad and he's not the prettiest of specimens..



Although this looks bad and must hinder him he seems to cope really well and behaves just like any other Owl, apart from not helping out in the parenting department that is..

We decided to get out of the car and lie on the ground for a lower point of view and photograph him running about, as usual the light was terrible so we cranked up the ISO and prayed we would get some half decent images..









I would have liked to of spent more time with him but unfortunately the bad light beat us yet again so we called it a day and planned our next visit for the following weekend..

The working week seemed to drag by and as soon as the weekend came the weather took a turn for the worse yet again! what a depressing summer this has been. Anyway, the bad weather wasn't going to put us off so we threw the gear into the car and headed over to the Owls. On arriving we had a quick look around and were pleasantly surprised to see the female out hunting already, which made a nice change.



She sat in this tree for a while before dropping down to the base of one of the other trees, we couldn't see what she was doing but soon after she flew up and landed on a fence post with a dead Vole.



The Vole looked like it had been dead for quite a while and we reckon it had been caught during the night and stashed, which seemed strange. She then started calling and that's when we heard the young calling back from a nearby Conifer tree. Unbelievably they had survived the Bee swarms which I would have put money on they wouldn't of.

She flew into the tree and after a few minutes we got our first views of the two youngsters.
They were soon hopping around on the grass and perching on the fences that surround the site..







Poor old mum was having a nightmare keeping an eye on them.. :-)



After a few hours of giving mum and us the run around they settled down in a nearby tree for an afternoon nap. It was a good end to my time with these fantastic little birds and I was so pleased the youngsters had survived and fledged successfully..

I'll leave you with a few more images of the youngsters..







Thanks for looking..