Monday, 4 July 2011

Owlets and owlets

I assume that people who follow this blog like owls, as I do. For any that don't you'd best skip this post!

A couple of weeks ago I was fortunate enough to be made aware of a pair of tawny owlets (chicks) on a local reserve, so weather permitting, I headed over for a look. The birds were apparently quite mobile already, and could be anywhere along a line of trees. I had my work cut out, but after about 30 mins of searching, I spotted a shape that didn't quite look like part of a tree.

I'd found one. Sat out on a branch, quite high up but already watching me. I expect it had been doing so since I got there, but then I'm a bit easier to see when pottering around carrying my gear! Was a fluffy little character. Not sure whether I'd call it cute?

As the breeze moved the branch it was perched upon, the owlet kept its head dead still, to keep a watchful eye on me. Amusing to watch, though being backlit, it didn't make it easy to get a sharp shot. Thank goodness for large memory cards, that's what I say, and after reeling off a few shots at different settings, I managed to get some keepers.

I have to say, after looking at the bird's face close up (cropping) it sort of resembles Max!! Sorry mate!

With a bit of decent weather this week, Dad has been popping out locally to see what he can photograph, and I was rather envious when he dropped some photos into my lap, of a little owlet he'd seen at Little Grump's residence. I think it was later in July last year when I saw the chicks, but this was great to see, and meant I had my weekend sorted for more owlet action!

But before I could do anything, in the shower on Saturday morning, simply raising my arms to wash my hair, put my back into spasm. I must be getting old! It was (and still is) very painful, so I've been really careful not to exert myself at all since. Hence being sat in a car, having to be motionless, proved to be quite handy!

There are two owlets at the site, and both are already mobile. They are so much fun to observe, when they move that is... which isn't that often. They can both fly, and seem to enjoy scampering around the tree, leaping between branches. They also practise bobbing their heads up and down, or around in circles, like they're listening to some disco tunes.

The parent birds are around, but they seem to tire of the screeches for food, and fly off to neighbouring trees! I went both days of the weekend, though total viewing time of the owls must have been about 20 mins. And even then, most of my shots were partially obcsured by leaves or branches, though on a couple of instances the owlets, when possibly too excited from being mobile, forgot to keep hidden, and landed out in the open at the ends of the branches.

They soon realised how exposed they were, and dived back into the foliage once more. Great to see that Little Grump is keeping the population of little owls going in the area. Just need to get up early enough to work out where some of his offspring have gone to.


Max Silverman said...

Cracking shots as usual Pete but I notice you only got one of the Tawny chicks in your shot.

The Tawny Owl chick does look as though it's as knackered as me!!!

Hope your back is better now.It's always the simplest of movements that sets em off.

Haven't seen the Tawny owl chicks for a couple of weeks now.

Pam said...

They are cute Pete! Great images!