"Operation noctua" end of week 3

March 11, 2012  •  Leave a Comment

Well... I was expecting to delight anyone reading this blog with more HD clips of our little owls as I had the trail camera back in place all weekend and have been watching the owls from the side of their field for a few hours during this time.

But alas, the trailcam has failed again (I'm not Bushnell's biggest fan it has to be said), so I've reset the trail cam and will check it again tomorrow afternoon (I think in my haste to breathe some life into it this morning I've replaced it at an angle, which will make for drunken clips if I get any at all).

It's a stressful time setting the trail cam. It's no mean feat, lugging a 15' ladder across a wet field and getting the camera in the right place on top of a large cattle shed. Either the dog walkers are watching, or the owls are! With most birds, one could reset it at night - but not with owls. So why can't I reset it during the day then? Because these are little owls - this species is often perched out in the daylight - and our two owls love to sunbathe it seems.

Anyway, reset it is - and I'll straighten it up after work tomorrow and hope the owls are taking 40 winks elsewhere.

It has been a stunning day here today, with temperatures up to 18c (higher in the sun), no wind to speak of and I spent a good few hours today watching these owls. As an orange sun rose behind the local church before 7am this morning, both owls were defending their next box from a new pair of interlopers - a pair of kestrels.

The stock doves seems to have given up the ghost for now, but not so these kestrels. In one hour this morning, I watched the falcon (female) catch a vole and eat it whilst the tiercel (male) mated her - not the politest birds it seems - then the tiercel caught and ate a vole himself and both tried to lay claim to the owl's nest box. The owls weren't having it though and one of our little owls decided to fly through the falcon and stand sentry inside the box opening whilst the falcon looked on helpless! Brave little things those owls! I can only assume that if the kestrels keep up the box dispute, at least one of the owls will start to roost inside the box for now, rather than both owls roosting in the cattle shelter (where I video them) 80 yards or so away. In fact I am amazed this hasn't happened already!

Its a shame the trailcam didnt record any clips over the weekend. There was a wedding at the church on Saturday and I was in the field watching both owls in front of the trailcam with church bells ringing in the distance - would've been nice to get that "on tape". As would it have been this morning when the kestrels were screaming to each other and both owls were watching them right in front of the trail cam again.

Never mind  - we'll see what clips the trail cam gets in week four and you'll be the third (after myself and Anna) to see any results!

 


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