Monday, April 18, 2011

Abney's Owls, 17th April 2011

A dreaded sunny day, so I met them at the cemetery gates. Them being a small group of Hackneyites involved in a local environmental project, and well deserving of an introduction to Abney's birdlife. Warm sunshine, blossom and butterflies everywhere (predominantly Orange-tips and Speckled Woods), and plenty of birds to entertain, most of which in the throes of breeding activity; Blackcaps and Stock Doves being particularly numerous, with the leucistic individual of the latter species attending a nest hole.

This year I've had less opportunity to check, but there's been some concern that the resident pair of Tawny Owls may have had problems this year, and no all-singin', all-dancin' fledgling show (expected at some point between mid-March and mid-April) was forthcoming.

Having checked the more likely roosting spots, not overly surprised at a no-show, and having just uttered the phrase "it seems the owls have eluded us", amazingly a familiar hooting in the late-morning sun echoed through the trees just as we were about to leave.

Scanning the area the calls came from soon produced a single owlet in the top of a tree, guarded by an adult a few metres below it. What is likely to be my last walk in the cemetery until 2012 ending beautifully, thanks to such co-operative and thoughtful local celebrities.