Wednesday, 8 May 2013

2nd - 5th May 2013, Spring begins in earnest and an owl rescue

With lighter nights I can get out for a walk in the evening now, when the weather allows! Thursday was a fine day, other things to do kept me busy for a while but I managed a short walk.

Looking down Airedale towards Keighley, I could here owls hooting but despite lengthy searches I couldn't locate them.

The only bird photograph I managed was great tit in full and hearty song..

 I had no wildlife plans for Friday with a busy weekend in store, little did I know how things would unfold.....I arrived early at work as usual, I had begun the day's tasks when a colleague dashed in.

"Dave we have an injured owl in the sheep pens, can you come and sort it out?" Well I would certainly have a look and see if I could help. Collecting my camera on the way I walked round to the meshed pens that adjoin our premises, it appeared that the owl, a male tawny had flown into the fence in pursuit of something, or in a hasty escape from something chasing it.

Donning a pair of welding gauntlets, a bite or scratch would be mighty painful, I edged my way into the enclosure and began making soothing sounds...well it works in the TV progs! And work it did indeed as the beautiful creature's initial agitation soon disappeared.

Pretty quickly I was able to gently pick the owl up and put in a cardboard box, lid quickly closed just in case. A call to the RSPCA and pretty quickly an officer turned up, pronounced our diagnosis correct and informed us that after 24 hours of food, water and rest the little beauty would be flying free again. How privileged I felt to have helped such a special bird.

Saturday was project day, one of those where fieldwork is necessary, an investment for the future with possibly very few rewards on the day. I had arranged to meet up with a good wildlife photomate Matt McKean, we had been granted access to a little owl site over in Lancashire by a work colleague who owns the land.  Matt's work can be viewed at..
Very impressive photography and a great ethic both for the animals and how they should be portrayed.

I had a little time before we met at Barley to drive in one car to the remote site and I took a walk by the beck, some careful watching allowed to predict when this chiffchaff would appear for a clear shot..

A grey wagtail flitted to and fro near the water..

and a pied wagtail appeared too...

This robin seemed distinctly unwilling to appear in full, maybe that's why I couldn't get proper focus!

Anyway soon enough it was time to meet up and head for the hide, we did see a little owl but it was flying away as we walked in. With nothing to see it gave us time to chat and get to know one another, pretty soon we were laughing and joking, always a good sign:-)

We met up with a chap who has been photographing there for years, he passed on a lot of knowledge and information quite willingly once he was assured we were like minded photographers. In another month or so that half day and the things we learnt should reap a very rich reward. After a pint and more chat we went our separate ways, few pix but an excellent day.

Some domestic duties prior to an upcoming holiday called on Sunday morning, by early afternoon we were heading for Wharfedale and another exploration of the riverbank and woodland.

Pretty quickly we were getting sights of pied flycatchers, but first a small tortoiseshell butterfly..

Just the poor light under the canopy of the trees stopped this from being a lot lot better!

Gazing out beyond the trees we spotted something flying...but it wasn't a bird...a newly awakened bat, obviously hungry!

A female redstart fluttered down near to us.

The bluebells are just beginning to appear, at last!

Another perusal over the wall and I identified a sparrowhawk in flight..

It was time to leave now but did a sight of a male siskin as we walked..

A curlew patrolled a nearby field..

And a long tailed tit flitted around in a small tree...
The last few days will last in the memory for a good while, great weather for the most part, the unforgettable tawny owl, building knowledge and friendship for the future, and some lovely sightings.
There will be a separate blog for Sunday and Monday.
Don't forget if you do feel moved to add a comment, they come to me first for approval.

1 comment:

  1. Reminds us of the owl Roger brought home, defeated and saturated from the flooding around here a few years ago. Recuperation in a box in the warmth of our kitchen and we were able to release him back to the wild. A privilege to help as I'm sure you felt that day too. Well done :-)