Sunday, 14 June 2015

Lancashire Little Owls


It's been well over a month now since my last 'lite' blog entry and this has been down to my pretty busy schedule of work with the RSPB, as many will know I'm doing schedule 1 raptor nest protection work and I will say no more on the matter for security reasons.
Lancashire is stunning and the quiet lanes provide me a chance to take it easy and snap a shot of any local flora and fauna that I happen upon on my journey, these opportunities have been provided many times in this picture perfect landscape. The mosaic of habitats is sublime for the variety of different types of flora and fauna found in the North West. Bilberry and heather covered moorland are haunted by the enigmatic Short-Eared Owl and the calls of Cuckoo echo deep into the night, the fast flowing shallow streams which cut through the small communal villages are home to an abundance of invertebrates and in turn draw in their predators, the Common Sandpiper and Dipper to name but two. The miles of farmland that are divided up by dry stone walling and mature hedgerows are ever active with everything from Redstart, Barn Owl, Lapwing and Curlew, with Brown Hare chasing each other to and fro across the fields and Little Owl adorning the dilapidated farm buildings and mature trees, which border the narrow country lanes.
Little Owl are a much more regular sight around the farmland of Lancashire than back home in
Northumberland and North Tyneside, that being said I am aware of a good number of sites in the North East. Generally those sites involve a good amount of searching or good luck so I'm relishing in the numerous 'easy' encounters I have been having down here.
Fence posts and dry stone walls seem to be the favoured perch of the Little Owl and they like to scrutinize you as you drive past, with those large illuminating yellow eyes and that angry look they seem to have. The Little Owl death stare!
I recently noticed a parent bird taking food into a tree hollow and in turn discovered a roadside nest site. Which is happily on route to my place of work, not too high from the ground in the split of a tree trunk, tucked away from the prying eyes of everyone but a hand full of cows.
I look forward to keeping a distant eye on the young Owls once they fledge, and I'm sure the parents will be keeping an eye on me when I do so.
David