Saturday, 24 July 2010

Long eared Owlet Calling Video. As Requested!

Long-eared owlet calling from Hawthorn

This is the video I took of the Long-eared Owlet calling. Please note that it is almost dark, and that the Owl is perched in a very thick dark Hawthorn bush, therefore the EOS 7D is cranked up to its highest possible ISO setting, meaning that the picture quality is nothing but awful, but the audio I thought was just perfect.


Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Habitat Habitat Habitat.

Today I have been to Wiltshire to look at and survey an estate that just a few years ago was an arable desert, the emphases here is trees, however as can be seen in the first picture, there is plenty of open area, which does have some amazing rough grassland margins. I did this same survey a year ago, and today was gobsmacked by the number of Yellowhammer and Corn Bunting, Skylark. As you have probably noticed I really like Yellowhammer, they seem to me so wrapped up in the fact that some experts like to pigeon hole them into only being able to do or live in certain circumstances, yet here they are again, now operating across real rough and wild vegetation. As with the Hammers I found in the forests during the Forestry Commission Long-eared Owl Project, they are in the open yet seemingly doing even better than 1 year ago in the new growth of tree's. Mentioning experts, I was told only this weekend that Yellowhammers will only breed in the hedge and not out in the young tree belt. Sorry this is wrong. In fact as with the FC project here at today's location they were taking insect prey back to their nests which were not only in the hedges but also right out in the new tree growth areas, and breeding very close to the ground level. The moral of this story is that after almost 40 years of doing Natural History I would never surrender to that word EXPERT, because the beauty and excitement of natural history is that every time you go out you are going to learn something new!
If you think you know it all then its time to give up!

Yellowhammer what a bird

As you can see I can't get enough of Hammers. I'm told by my friends in the RSPB that if I was introduced to Cirl Buntings I would feel the same about them. OK Its over to you RSPB introduce me. Today's survey was brilliant for Birds and also large numbers of the more common Butterflies. Like Large and Small Skipper, Marbled White (my favourite),Speckled Wood, Ringlet, Large and Small White, Small Copper, even recorded 3 Brimstones obviously part of a second hatch, along with Peacock, Red Admiral Comma and Gatekeeper. Nothing perhaps very special in these species, although I did spend time looking for Wall Butterfly as it was the most perfect habitat for it however I found no Walls today. The point about the common butterflies is not that they were there, more so that they were in such huge number Peacock Butterfly

Comma Butterfly

A Bumblebee on Spearhead Thistle
Habitat is the key to all and when we consider our great struggle in wild conservation movement to preseve what is bio-diversity then perhaps we need go back to basics and really look careful at what the more common species need, and for goodness sake stop over complicating all of the issues.
Next up on this blog, Barn Owl Nest checking and this years re habbed Owls.

Sunday, 4 July 2010

Hawk and Owl Trust Open Day Acton court

This was a huge event for the Hawk and Owl Trust. Those people that put this event together need the biggest pat on the back, along with all the volunteers that helped make it all run so well on the day. There was a large number of people present. The flying displays were carried out by the one and only Jemima Parry Jones MBE, and wow did her birds and of course Mima really perform well, I think its fair to say there is no one anywhere that can deliver a full on the spot talk and fly Birds of Prey so efficiently at the same time, I feel sure this is a female thing as it was full on multi-tasking.
Here are some pictures I took of the day, sadly not a lot as I was just a bit busy. Apart from the flying, there was face painting, bug hunting, pond dipping (well there was supposed to be but the hot weather meant the pond had dried up) On my last wildlife walk there was over 150 people that came out with me, and they really did enjoy become as one with Voles, and watching Ringlet and Marbled White Butterflies.
JPJ's Great Horned Owlet
Lanner in action at Acton Court
Lanner descending at speed towards JPJ's lure

The long snake of people enjoying my wildlife walk

And thank you Gaina, who did a brilliant job on the raffle such a success. Meanwhile its now back out in the field and more Barn Owl nest checking this week.