Tony McLean's East Yorkshire Wildlife Diary

Wildlife photography in East Yorkshire

Barn Owl – The Fledglings and a wave Good-Bye

Barn Owl flight_4

Right now, I feel like a proud uncle. The offspring of the pair of Barn Owls I have been observing and photographing for the past few weeks have finally began to fledge. Two, maybe three fledglings are flexing their wings and honing their hunting skills. These fledglings remain inconspicuous, usually in a nearby tree, until after the sun has set. This week, my camera and super-tele lens has been almost redundant, except for perhaps a few minutes of activity around sun-set. Do you know…I didn’t mind at all. Crouched inside a bush, I can enjoy a spectacular show through a pair of binoculars without fussing about exposure settings and worrying about noisy image detail.

Watching the first few flights of these fledgling Barn Owl was a rare privilege (see image at head of this post). The way they continuously bob and rotate their heads is fabulous. I’m not actually certain, but I suspect that this head movement is associated with the fledglings fine-tuning their hearing skills. Soon, they will leave the nest and perhaps the surrounding area altogether. I wish them luck. I may return to the site in a few weeks to see if the parents lay a second batch of eggs. However, the end of July is rather late in the year, but you never know!

So, now it’s time for me to look for another species and location. I did spend a couple of hours at North Marsh hide at Tophill Low a few evenings ago but without any success. The trouble is that I have been rather spoilt by the freedom of wandering the river banks during the past few months and I’m not looking forward to the constraints of photographing from a hide. Oh well! One door closes and another one may open.

Barn Owl semaphore

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