10 May 2017

Little Owls

'Looks good round here for Little Owl' said Groucho when he first visited our new house last September. 'Never seen one in this area' I said. Blow me a couple of days later one pops up on the roof  calling. After that we had a few sightings but all the building work seemed to have scared him off.  Fast forward a few months and I heard a peculiar 'song' coming from trees in a field behind the house.   A Little Owl singing his love song is a weird sound and not one I'd heard much before so it took me awhile to figure it out (to me it sounds like a muted, softer Scops Owl).

Virtually every night we'd hear this strange little one note song but  I couldn't pin it down until one sunny afternoon I decided to scan the trees to see if I could see him sunbathing. And there he was  - about 100 m from our bedroom window in an old oak. Next there were two and now they're breeding!

Little Owls are one of my favourite UK birds, full of character and expression. I've got a painting by Cheshire born artist, Nigel Artingstall, that Jan bought me for Christmas a few years ago of a Little Owl perched on a fence post that captures the character and fierce expression perfectly.

They're a bit distant to photograph and I don't want to disturb them by crawling closer to their tree but I've managed a couple of phonescoped shots.

 Both Little Owls outside their nesting hole.

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