My favourite wildlife sighting from last week was this dear little owl (ickle wol) in Richmond Park last Thursday! This is the first time I’ve managed to see them in the wild since I was a kid. Thank you to various members of the Surrey Bird Club for posting about the general location near Pen Ponds. A blessed if brief sighting!
Red Kites regularly fly over the wetlands at Heather Farm on Horsell Common. Such a glorious sight! I wanted to use the photos I took yesterday to try to convey a sense of the movement as this kite swept in a lazy arc across the wetlands. Rising and falling on unseen thermals the kites can suddenly shrink from your vision as they’re carried ever higher. Of course their vision extends far beyond our own! As the kite soars out of sight it’s probably already got its’ eyes on something a mile or more away. Have a great week everyone!
My message to the politicians of this country! I know our country is split. Even my family is split on what they believe! I am so fed up with the way this has been handled from the moment David Cameron decided it was a great idea to put forward a Referendum without even providing proper information on every possible outcome of leaving the EU. I’m not angry with anyone who happens to have a different opinion than me but I am angry with the leaders of this country for misrepresentation, misinformation (on all sides!) and a lack of guidance. We’re on the edge of a dangerous precipice and if some politicians want to take a leap of faith off it then fine, go ahead, just don’t think you can drag me over with you!
When tawny owlets are only about five weeks old they leave the nest. They’re not fledging yet, they’re branching! The staff at St James’s Park discovered that tawny’s had returned to the park after an absence of twelve years, when they discovered one of the branched owlets in the back of a tractor. It’s not unusual for branching owlets to fall off their perch. Most of the time they will be absolutely fine and the advice is to leave them where they are unless they are lying down, showing other signs of distress or are in immediate danger. They will sit still on the ground until nightfall when they are known to use their strong talons to climb back into the tree! Even if they don’t return quickly, the parents will carry on feeding the owlet on the ground. Gardeners at the park were actually able to return this little owlet to it’s mother in the tree!
It was quite incredible to be able to watch this owlet and one of its’ parents last Friday. They were high up in the trees and it had started raining. I was captivated though! Fortunately I had my raincoat so I was able to observe them for a while despite the weather. It did make it hard to photograph them though. I was using a Fujinon 100-400mm lens with a 1.4x teleconverter to watch and photograph. You really do need a long lens or powerful binoculars to see them closely! The owlet has some good adult feathers coming through on the tail and wings but still plenty of downy fluff too. It was stretching the wings a lot and jumping between branches really well. The other wonderful behaviour I was able to watch was the circling off the head as the owlet builds up a full picture of it’s surroundings.
There are also Tawny Owls in Regents Park and these sighting are brilliant news for the species! It’s also a good sign that wildlife conservation and habitat management in The Royal Parks is working well. There must be a good amount of prey species available for these wonderful owls and this owlet certainly seems to be thriving! If you do go to St James’s or anywhere else to watch tawny owls and owlets, please keep a reasonable distance from their tree so you don’t disturb them. They are a protected species and these London owlets are very precious!
It’s been really hard to pick an entry for the Fotospeed challenge this week! I keep being drawn back to this distant shot of the barn owl at Papercourt Meadows from late on Friday. Having got stuck in traffic I only arrived at the meadows at sunset. There was just enough light to still watch the barn owl hunting in the grasses. Too dark for flight images but he popped up onto the fence post close to the River Wey that runs through the meadow. There’s lots of context in this image though. Sometimes you can tell the story of your subject better by showing the environment in which it lives.
This land is managed by the Surrey Wildlife Trust and is a local haven for barn, short-eared and tawny owls. It was great fun staying to watch beyond the sunset. Although the light was too low for any more photography, the wildlife really came alive! I stood with another lady watching the deer suddenly start bounding and bouncing around the next field with all the joys of Spring in them! We were laughing in delight at their antics. They reminded me of my two cats having a funny five minutes at 3am! So lovely listening to the tawnys calling to one another and seeing the silhouettes of birds in low flight. Pheasants can glide quite some distance!
I was driving down to RHS Wisley Gardens on Thursday afternoon when I spotted this kestrel circling the field opposite Wisley Church. There’s a small lay-by that I pulled into as the kestrel approached. I was absolutely thrilled when it took a perch on the cables nearby! I didn’t want to spook it, so grabbed the long lens, wound down the passenger window and managed to get a few images as it surveyed the surroundings, before taking back off to resume the hunt. A magical moment! Often when I spot wildlife from the car there’s nowhere to pull over and be able to watch or photograph what I’ve seen. This has to be my ShareMondays moment and I will add it to the Wex Mondays challenge too. Have a great week everyone!