I was at Cranford Park early this morning to hopefully get some good sightings, before the temperature soared. I didn't plan on staying all day, but I did. I arrived at 7.30am and left just before 5pm. Why ? Because I am now addicted to Little Owls.
I found the juvenile we call Ozzy, within minutes of arriving. His 'hissing' call could be heard loud and clear in the quiet of the early morning park. I located him on a different oak to the one we've become used to seeing him on. He knew I was there, and being so indifferent to any ones presence now, he promptly fell asleep.
He awoke briefly and moved a few branches along, and then flew to the right of the tree, where I couldn't locate him again.
Shortly after this Sue and Jasper arrived. We had a brief look for Ozzy, then decided to go on a butterfly hunt before it got too hot (more about them later). After our walk to the top of the park and back, we settled back in the shade of the oaks with a very grateful Jasper. We couldn't find Ozzy, but a sleeping owl often cant be found, they turn invisible. After a while the now familiar 'hissing' call began, and we began searching the oaks. Sue spotted Ozzy first, and we were watching him, watching us, watching him, when there was a sudden movement from below and up jumped another juvenile Little Owl. Anyone walking through the park at the time must have been wondering what those two mad women were doing, we were almost jumping up and down with joy, and couldn't wipe the smiles off our faces. We knew from Tonys' photo there had originally been two owlets, but until today no one had seen them together again, and we had feared one had been lost. I later called Corinna down to the park, so she could see them both, and we all came away with photos. The first two below are mine....
We now had a dilemma. We couldn't call the owls Ozzy and Ozzy, so we've nick named them Ozzy and Izzy. And no, we have no idea which is which. We don't even know which one we've been watching over the last few weeks. But its a wonderful feeling knowing we definitely have two juvenile Little Owls now.
So back to the butterflies. Sue had seen Small Coppers yesterday, and they are a species Ive not yet photographed this year. It didn't take long for us to find them, despite the heat. Also abundant were the usual Gatekeepers, Meadow Browns, several varieties of Whites, Common Blues, Six-spot Burnets, Skippers and a solitary Brimstone.
female Common Blue
and the beautiful tiny Small Copper......
While I was uploading my photos, I zoomed in on this front view of a female Common Blue. Looks like she had a narrow escape. Look to the right of the flower. There's a spider almost in touching distance of the butterfly......
Whilst hanging around the oaks, I got some great views of birds of prey today. Sue called out on two Hobbys soaring over, there were at least three Kestrels playing above, a Buzzard came down low, and a Red Kite went over. I also saw a large female Sparrowhawk being mobbed by crows in the morning. So even though the rest of the birds stay hidden during this moulting season, and hot weather, it doesn't appear to bother the raptors, nor the Little Owls. A very pleasant, if a little warm, nine hours of Cranford Park.