Sunday 7 October 2012

The male Tawny Owl is back in his usual place, the broken trunk of the hollow tree where the pair nest. The nest is farther down the same hole. It is a fine place for an owl, since there seem to be several places to stand and he can go right up to the edge or huddle down out of the cold wind, and there is enough room for his mate to stand beside him when she takes a moment off from the eggs or the young owlets.

The male owl is gingery brown and rather round-looking. His mate is paler and taller, with high eyebrows that define the shape of the top of her head. She is also greyer than her mate, though it does not seem so from the fine photograph below by Paul Sawford, as it was taken in bright sunlight. It is from 30 March this year, when the family was camped out near the Albert Memorial.

Two researchers, Jeff Martin and Heimo Mikkola, are doing a survey of how often Tawny Owls call during the daytime. It was supposed that these owls hardly called at all when in urban surroundings, but our pair have been heard calling several times this year. If anyone hears them again between now and the end of the year, it would be much appreciated if you would put a comment on this blog giving the time, place (as nearly as possible) and whether the call was a male hoot or a female 'kee-wick', or one answered the other.

The Great Crested Grebes near the bridge are giving their family a varied diet. This seems to be some kind of freshwater worm.

But I have no idea what this irregular black lump might be.

However, the young birds are thriving, and I saw one of them already charging across the water trying to fly.

1 comment:

  1. I am so glad that you saw one of our owls again. I looked on Saturday and Sunday afternoon but no one was at home. The Grbe family made me laugh, though. One of the youngsters seems to be stronger and faster at getting to what a parent has to offer in the way of food and, when this one had managed to grab it several times running, the parent shoo-ed it off in not uncertain terms so as to feed the other.