Owl progress

Tues 24th April 2012

We’re still on the subject of birds as I promised I’d let you know how the baby owls are getting on. But first some other bird news. The swallows and martins started arriving a fortnight ago.  We’ve seen them when I’ve taken people out on my safaris. This year there are a lot of chiffchaff around but I’ve not heard the cuckoo yet. Maybe next week. I’ve also seen more ravens than in recent years and plenty of skylarks with their lovely call as they hover way above the ground.

So how are the owls doing? Well it’s all good news I’m please to be able to tell you. Things progress pretty quickly in the feathered world and on 20th April, the first of our chicks left the nest, still with all its white feathers on. Tawny owl chicks seem to grow a lot faster than barn owl chicks and fledge sooner. If you are walking through a wood you can often see young white tawny owls sitting on the branches of trees at this time of year. So have a look up when you are out in the woods and you may be lucky enough to see one.

I’ve been out filming as usual and have got some good footage of the owls flying backwards and forwards to and from the nest. It’s been very hard work though. The barn owl is a lot easier to film than the tawny because they come back to the nest with food quite frequently whereas the tawny owl sometimes returns only once in three hours. All you can do is sit and wait. It’s worth it in the end but it does take some patience.

So that’s the news for this week. I’m sure I’ll have more to tell you soon. Do get out and about if you can. There is so much going on in early Spring. It’s a wonderful time down here on Exmoor and I love to be out on the moor as much as I can. My dog Megan loves it too but of course I can’t usually take her when I’m filming or I’d never get close to anything. She did come with me the day this photo was taken. It is one of my favourites.