Another almost 24 hours of rain. When I arrived at the release site it was pouring down. I really feared the worst for tonight's observations and perhaps over did thinking the worst of how the Little Owls would be fairing in the wind and rain. No Little Owls in the release aviary upon my arrival as I placed the food on the board time was 1925hrs, I moved back about 100 metres under a constant dripping tree. 1942hrs getting darker earlier due to the heavy cloud cover no Little Owls seen or heard so far, oh dear. Then just as I went into deep thought mode one of them just appeared as if by magic on the top of the aviary, it made its way to the edge and then plunged onto the hack board grabbed the food and flew off. This was timed at 1944hrs, I had hardly had time to take the note when another flew from my right very close to me heading onto the board, then another Little Owl, now number 3, number 4 then pop out from the every greens trees flew round the back of the aviary then on top of it. It was now raining Little Owls; so in the course of about 2 minutes 4 had returned. And finally by 1949hrs the other 2 were in making 6 (phew!).
My hair stood on end with excitement at seeing them all back in these terrible conditions and the fact they are now roosting (or most of them) further away from the aviary.
Interestingly only 2 of them choose to take the food into the aviary to eat all the others once they had the food withdrew away from the aviary back into the local trees. I had promised to monitor their activity away from what I shall now call their local site (release aviary) The conditions have been too bad to achieve this, but as all are OK and present I do hope to achieve this early next. week. For those of you with an interest in wild owls it does show why this year Little Owls have done so much better than for example Tawny or Barn Owls, they do not need their stealth or silent flight therefore they can over come any problems hunting or just flying in these what seems at times monsoon conditions. I will leave this post with some more good news on Little Owls. I have been monitoring the fortunes of the Little Owls in the Gordano Valley since the 1970's and this year is the first year in the last 8 years that Little Owls have been heard anywhere near my house, yet their back, and now their yelps are filling the evening air at this very moment. What a welcome return!
The Little Owls mentioned in this blog have all been reared and rescued by Secret World and past on to me for release so please do go and see the great work of Secret World at www.secretworld.org