Barn Owl, Baildon Moor 15 Aug

I have not been up onto Baildon Moor for a little while, partly because it has been rather hot to be out in the open.

There are a few birds we hope to see on Baildon Moor at this time, some of them just passing through – Whinchat and Wheatear being 2 examples

I had heard that Barn Owls in the area had done well, even though in one family the female had been killed on the road; but apparently, helped by the good weather, dad upped his efforts and fed all 4 of their chicks well.

On Wednesday I went up onto Baildon Moor at about 6:45am and started near the cattle grid at Glovershaw.

Barn Owl

Quite soon I spotted a Barn Owl flying along the field parallel to the path and wall.

Barn Owl

I quietly walked along the path, going backwards and forwards a bit to keep good sight of the owl, stopping short of the gate to the horse track.

Barn Owl

The owl was very methodical as it flew back and forth quartering the field.

Barn Owl

At one point there were two owls, one at each end of the field. They then spend a few seconds around each other before going separate ways. One had stains from the corner of its eyes, the other had a much cleaner face. There is a photo showing two owls in the album on flickr but just as a record shot.

Barn Owl

It looked as though the owl flew slower when near sheep. I wonder if this was because the sheep might disturb small mammals that the owl can then pounce on.

Barn Owl

A couple of times it heard and saw me but didn’t seem too worried by my presence.

Barn Owl

They were hunting for the last snacks of the night.

Barn Owl

Flying silently up and down the field.

Barn Owl

Ready to dive on something it has heard.

Barn Owl

Down into the grass. Sometimes, after diving in, it was back up in the air quite quickly. Sometimes it spent a while out of sight, I assume tossing back whatever it had caught.

Barn Owl

A couple of times it then spent a few minutes on a fence post, presumably letting its last meal go down properly.

Barn Owl

During one of its hunting passes it veered off line slightly as though it had heard something and it disturbed two Hares. This photo shows the Owl flying almost over the top of one of the Hares that is starting to run off. This is a little surprising because I thought Hares tended to sink down to the ground when threatened. I this case it seemed to think that running was the best option.

Linnet

I then did a loop, through the Scout Camp at Sconce, along Sconce Lane to Ash House Farm where I saw a flock of Linnet perched on two overhead cables.

Starlings

The Linnet were then displaced by a flock of Starlings.

Kestrl

At Faweather Grange I tried and failed to get some shots of 4 or 5 Pied Wagtail but further on, towards Weecher Reservoir, a Kestrel was perched on an overhead cable.

View Baildon Moor to Ferrybridge

By this time it was starting to look as though rain clouds were coming from the West. Looking East was a bit grey too. This is a black and white view looking from Baildon Moor, East to Ferrybridge power station.

As usual you can click on an image to see it on flickr. In the album there are several more photos from my walk.

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