Two owls and a moth-hunter
Yesterday evening I guided James, Richard, Myra, Mike and Deborah on a short private tour for three target species in the South Downs.
First up was Little Owl. After enjoying a couple of Yellowhammers on the way to the birds' favoured trees, we carefully scanned some of their favourite perches. Spring is the best time to look for them really, when the trees are still bare but the sun encourages the owls to bathe in view. The summer greenery was making it a bit of a challenge this time!
With careful scanning from a few different angles, I eventually picked up an adult Little Owl chilling out in the upper branches, letting everyone get a close-up look through the telescope.
Everybody happy, we moved on to try for Barn Owl. We set ourselves up and started to wait, which was no problem as we had a couple of Green Sandpipers and Reed Warblers to watch, as well as the antics of several Grey Herons. Suddenly, a Barn Owl came into view, flying straight towards us with a vole danging from its feet. It passed slowly enough that we all managed to really savour the moment before it disappeared behind the trees. A little later on, it was back quartering over the meadow. We couldn't have hoped for more!
We switched habitat again for dusk, with a heathland vigil starting with a busy pair of Stonechats and a typically elusive pair of Dartford Warblers.