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Friday, May 18, 2012

Tawny Owl encounter

After a week away in Portugal and then various other family and work commitments I returned on the 14th May to find the Swifts had returned to the village, albeit in small numbers as yet. A welcome sight even so as these harbingers of summer are wonderful to watch as they "scream" through the air so effortlessly.
The RSPB are asking for any sightings to be sent to them so they can build up a picture of their range and whether they are declining or not. http://www.rspb.org.uk/thingstodo/surveys/swifts/
The verges in the lanes around have grown very lush in all the rain we have been having and are now swathed in cow parlsey which looks just like lace and very pretty, if  a slight problem for driver,s as the view of the road is often obscured.
After being alerted by a friend to the possibility of a Tawny Owl fledgling being in the SSW I had a walk on Tuesday evening to see if I could find it. It had been on the ground and whilst it is tempting to pick them up and take them to a safe place, they should never be moved unless in obvious danger from traffic or predators. Thisn is because the young Tawny Owls will often leave the nest before they can fly and will engae in what is known as "branching" this is where they may fall to the ground unharmed, but then climb back up to the nest under the watchful eye of a parent. It is a way of exercising their wings before they take flight. The parents will watch their progeress and this will attracgt the interst of other birds who view it is a threat to their young. This is because Tawny Owls will takeother  young birds as food.
I followed my usual walk, up Stantway and into the fileds via the footpath behind CME. As I approached there were loud chinking calls which signify the alarm calls of a number of Blackbirds and sure enough, when I peered through the hedge I could see an adult Tawny Owl sitting in a low bush. It flew off as I walked on and then when as I entered SSW from the track off of Combe Wood Lane, the Blackbirds were calling again. After watching and listening I finally located  both a young fledgling and the parent bird sitting in two adjacent trees in the old rectory garden.
My photos are not very good as I could not, and indeed would not, approach too close, as I did not want to disturb them but it is great to know though that they are about!
Watchful parent Tawny Owl
Fluffy Fledgling Tawny Owl

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