Essex Little Owls show their character during an early spring encounter in the Park
When I heard through the 'grapevine' that we had little owls on our doorstep, I was both intrigued and excited to see if I could track them down. Here really was a genuine local wildlife photographic opportunity of an iconic species, and I set myself the challenge of exploring the species in depth if I could. But where to start? and when?
In the first instance I guess most people use the interweb for reconnaisance. That gave me a few pointers to my location which was parkland, and I figured, correctly as it turned out, that this would mean that the birds would be reasonably tolerant of humans.
A cold but bright start was forecast, and to get the best chance of of a sighting I arrived at the site at dawn when there would be few folks about. I sat on a bench and just waited, and watched. It was March, and there were no leaves out yet so the birds should be reasonably conspicuous. I looked up and to my surprise and delight, there was a little owl sitting in a nearby oak, staring right back at me.
For the next hour I got good clear views of two different birds as they sat in the branches, warming up and generally sorting themselves out in the morning sun.
In fact once they were used to me they let me wander about and get different shooting angles, some backlit for atmosphere, some 'lookthrough' type shots and some that frankly looked sinister. There really are gremlins in the woods!
So now I know where they are I can hopefully get to know them a little better as the season progresses. Watch out for little owl blog updates!