Sunday, 3 January 2016

Barnie Bonanza.

Barn Owl Brian Rafferty

It must to be a pleasure for every birder to get their eyes on a Barn Owl. I had the pleasure three times over three consecutive birding days last week, and in our recording area there was three other reports.

This is all good news for Barn Owl seekers, but not good news for the bird as each one seen daytime hunting is struggling for survival with little if anything being caught during hunting hours of the night making the necessity of daytime hunts essential.

The sequence of these six sightings - all at different locations - began for me on Moss Lane when I saw my first bird on 23 December, it was followed by two more sightings, one on the same date, and another the following day 24 December. Another Barn Owl was found at Stodday, reported by a friend who phoned me to say his son had seen a bird on Sunday 27 December. I had the fifth sighting at Bank Houses at Cockersands on 28 December, and saw the sixth at Glasson Dock the following day 29 December.

There's no telling how many Barn Owls are involved in these sightings, some of them could be duplicate records of the same bird, but they could all be individuals, birds from a pair which is what I do know the Haresnape Farm birds are/were, and as a result of my enquiries I'm reliably informed the A6 bird is thought to be from an undisclosed location. 

With the wet and windy December weather continuing into January the Barn Owl is struggling, some of the fields are like inland lakes, and the ditches are overflowing, their feathers are not waterproof and they cannot be exposed to rain for long periods of time, they are moving around and roaming widely in search of food. 

Add to all this, whilst the Barn Owl had an excellent year in 2014, the breeding season was not as good in 2015 according to an interesting conversation I had with Bob Danson when I saw him at Fluke Hall on Tuesday last....Good to meet you BD, long time no see.

Thanks again for the Barn Owl images including the new header....Brilliant Brian. 

Blackbird. Antonio Puigg 

Eight Blackbirds together in our small urban garden yesterday....Thanks Antonio.

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