Friday, 20 June 2014

Cutting edge birding!

No- unfortunately I have not come up with a new wing formula for tricky warblers or new bill dimension criteria for crossbill sp. - but I did rescue two tawny owlets from a horrible fate! 

Yesterday, whilst walking on a highland estate I came across a tractor with hedge trimming/grass cutting equipment bolted on the sides. As cutting operations were ongoing I decided to follow an alternative loop to avoid the general disturbance and noise- not much use for woodland/riverside habitat birding. Anyway, a couple of hours later having done some very pleasant birding, I started the return leg when I became aware of two birds calling in deep vegetation just off the track. I was unfamiliar with the calls which immediately raised my excitement level as it is not often I do not recognise bird calls. Further investigation revealed two owlets emitting what I assumed were begging/contact calls. I admired the two birds before commencing my walk along the track- until I realised with some horror that the two owlets were in the path of the ongoing trimming operations that were now some 400 metres or so further down the track and likely to trim the owlets in an hour or so! With plenty of daylight remaining I guessed that the owlets would remain in situ for some time. Now I'm well aware that we should not touch or interfere with recently fledged birds and chicks but on this occasion I knew that if I did not intervene the owlets would certainly meet with a grisly death- so reluctantly I returned to the birds locations and after much beak clacking, blinking of large blue eyes and flexing of sharp claws, I managed to lift both birds to a safer location further into the vegetation and between trees where no cutting blades could reach. Fortunately a passer -bye managed to capture a shot on my iPhone of me holding an owlet -job done as they say!

tawny owlet in cover
Later that day breaking news of a Citrine wagtail near Durness prompted a plan for the following morning that allowed me to twitch a much needed lifer- just reward methinks! 

part of the trimmed verge- not good for owls- or much else!
a lovely little bird carefully relocated out of harms way!

1 comment:

  1. Nice one, mate. The Germans are thankfully one step ahead. It's illegal to cut hedges at this time of year. Glad to see you keeping well :)