There’s been a request for something a bit more appealing than moths! I was just thinking how, in this period of torrential rain (the dregs of Hurricane Bertha), there’s more chance to see some of the nocturnal owls (Barn and Tawny for example) feeding during the day, due to their dusk or night-time hunting having been disrupted by wet weather. Then I thought of this wonderful Little Owl, which is much easier to see during the day at any time of the year. They perch, feed and even sunbathe in quite open spaces in daytime, though they also feed at dusk and dawn. The Little Owl is a relatively recent arrival in this country, introduced by the Victorians (to rather more benign effect than some of their plant introductions, like Japanese Knotweed). They have declined since 1995, by around 24%, probably due to intensive farming, which greatly reduces their favourite diet of slugs, snails, insects such as beetles and even berries and seeds.We came upon this one in this lichen-covered hawthorn in Deep Dale, Derbyshire, where we watched it in typical pose, swooping down to catch insects in the grass, from its camouflaged perch in the tree. They nest in holes in trees or sometimes in rabbit holes, and are a real delight to come across in broad daylight.
Conditions: Torrential rain, falling straight down in a still day, followed by heavy showers. A good job England had defeated India in 3 days! Temperature: Max 17- Min 12 C.