Sunday, 2 August 2015

Little Owl - Once in a Blue Moon

Given the choice between visiting Wanstead Flats alone at dusk or dawn in search of Little Owl, I not surprisingly decided to go for the considerably safer option, and was parked up at Centre Road car park at 4.30am in near darkness - the bright full Blue Moon did provide a little twilight. I did a quick personal check before leaving the relative safety of the car; bins, camera, silver bullet, wooden stake, crucifix, garlic baguette! Bleary-eyed and attempting to lace up my boots, I could hear the call of a distant Little Owl - result! But oddly the call seemed to be coming from across Centre Road and in the opposite direction I would have imagined - being alone in the dark can play odd tricks on the mind...

Following up from where I believed the call had been coming from drew a blank, so I left and headed back across the Flats towards Alexandra Lake, passing between two of the centre most wooded copse, I then hear the repeated call again - but this time a lot clearer and closer. The bird had to be right above me in one of the copse, aided by the repeated calling, I managed to pick out the birds silhouette and with sun starting to rise, this just gave me enough light to photograph the calling bird high up in an Oak tree.

Historically Wanstead Little Owls have been notoriously difficult to photograph, so in the twilight of a Blue Moon and with the camera's ISO bumped up to 8000 - it was great to finally get a couple of record shots for the Wanstead archives.

Just a couple of nagging questions remained: Were there now two calling birds on the Flats and where did that garlic baguette come from?

Wanstead, London

Wanstead, London

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