So I am sure lots of you have been watching Spring Watch at the moment, and it has inspired me to get out there and try again to get a picture of our resident Barn Owl. During the development of the cottages we noticed a barn owl continually flying around, so in order to provide a new home, I erected two owl boxes. One I purchased at great expense and was located high up a near by sycamore tree. The other I fashioned at no cost by nailing together a load of old plywood I had lying around, and put it up in our large green shed. When we reached the stage of closing the cottages up, we waited with baited breath to see if the owl would migrate to one of it’s new homes. One night I was watching the chickens who are situated under the posh box (I know, with hindsight, maybe placing a bird of prey house above the chicken run was a bit daft, but the chickens are a bit too big I think for most Barn Owls!), when I heard a rustle in the branches, and the tell tale screech, and a beautiful owl flew out. Then to my surprise a second owl came out…..We had a breeding pair. I spent a few nights after that trying to photograph them, but the shy beasts seem to know when my camera reached it’s limit for available light before venturing out.
Over the last two months I had noticed an ever increasing amount of guano being splattered around the base of my home made box in the barn, accompanied with a lot of noise in the day. When the family von Cole where up last week we finally got the evidence that this box held the mother of 3/4 ugly balls of fluff! We have chicks. So back to Spring Watch, tonight I decided to try again with the photography. As it is very light in the evening I hoped for better success, and after only 15 minutes waiting with Charlie overlooking the grassland, she flew right over my shoulder hunting for dinner for her noisy little fluff balls.
Chris Packham has nothing on me……… (apart from being a very knowledgeable naturalist and professional photographer!)