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Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Langley Staithe: my drivetime barn owl

barn owl

IT’S been three visits in a fortnight and I’ve seen him every time. With barn owls rare, and getting rarer, this sort of bird-watching almost feels like cheating. I rock up in the car after work, walk along the path to the right of the dyke at Langley and scan the grazing marshes which run towards the Yare in the distance. And he’ll be there. Quartering the fields and occasionally plunging vertically to earth in search of his prey. Is he succeeding? I can’t tell with my basic bins. Do they eat the animal there and then or take it back to the nest? I’m too new to this natural history lark to have the answers. But as a short open-air spectacle after a long air-conditioned day, you can’t beat it.

*Photo by Nigel Blake taken from the RSPB website. More on barn owls from them here.

7 comments:

  1. We have an allotment backing onto Gillingham marsh and every evening we are treated to the sight of a barn owl hunting in exactly the same way. Breathtaking!

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    1. Hi Swede Do you see them more at this time of year? And if so is that because they've got chicks so they're working harder?

      Steve

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    2. We only moved here from Norwich at the end of 2011, so it's still early days for us. A friend told us what to look for and where to look for owls, but we drew a blank until we got the allotment - we tend to go over in the evening when no-one else is around - and almost immediately we saw an owl flying low, following the drainage ditches on the marsh and occasionally swooping to catch it's prey. He (or she) is around most evenings.

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    3. One of our crew members is a real wildlife enthusiast and he said that the barn owl we saw (thanks Sue for the phot!) was probably hunting in the day because it had been so wet overnight. That may be the case for a lot of this summer so far!

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  2. Beautiful creatures - how lovely to have a regular! On the wherry doing the Billy Bluelight race to Whitlingham the other week there was a barn owl hunting alongside the river just up from Bramerton. As we were doing some slow, repetitive tacking at the time, we got a very good view - what a treat.

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  3. This is the owl that Katy is referring too - a bit of a long distance shot. They are so beautiful. http://www.flickr.com/photos/supine39/7166058485/in/set-72157619860107792

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    1. Hi Sue,

      That's a hell of a shot! Superb. Any chance I could use it on this website?

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