The Watchers in the Wood


I was deep inside a local wood stood listening to the songs of Pied Flycatchers , Redstarts, Wrens and Robins. After a very fresh start to the morning it was beginning to warm up and become a lovely spring day. The sun had broken through a cloudy sky and streams of light penetrated the tree canopy creating lovely woodland glades.

It was all very tranquil and nice. Then the birds stopped singing and somewhere beyond my sight in a shadowy thicket I could hear the alarm calls of two Blackbirds. The thrushes really did not sound very happy. I could see movement in some lower branches of a beech tree and watched a Blackbird dart back and forth looking quite stressed out.

Then it went quiet. I had this feeling that I was being watched. I scanned the trees ahead of me and suddenly saw a dark silhouette of a large bird on a tree branch. I focussed my cameras lens on the silhouette and revealed my watcher. Two very dark eyes gazed down at me. It was an adult Tawny Owl. 

 The owl let out several calls. I think it was warning me not to come any closer. I glanced around me as I wondered if there was a recently fledged chick nearby. I could not see one but the trees are now in full leaf so any youngster could be very difficult to spot , even if it was on the ground there are plenty of places for it to hide and just blend into the background.

I paid the the Tawny Owl a lot of respect. I did not want to upset it and I was at a nice comfortable distance to observe it with my camera. The light was lovely and the Owl appeared to be quite relaxed basking in the sun.

After a short time I retreated away from where the Tawny was perched. I kept an eye on it just in case it decided to dive bomb me- Tawnys I have heard can be quite territorial if they are with youngsters.

I moved away into another glade I had passed earlier. Then I heard a Tawny Owl alarm call. I looked in the direction of the call and saw what I think was a second Owl - most likely the mate of the other Tawny.

It flew through the glade and landed on the side of a tree trunk.

If gave me a death stare from the shadows. So it appeared unknowingly I must have moved near to what I suspect was an owl fledgling that was somewhere nearby.

Now I was under serious surveillance by another pair of dark eyes. I continued my retreat walking backwards keeping an eye on the owl.

 The Tawny followed me moving from tree to tree and calling as it did so until I had left the depths of the wood and moved on.

I have rarely seen Tawny Owls in daylight and it was a great to see this pair guarding their territory and chick(s).

I left them in peace. The location will not be disclosed.


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