Long-Eared Owls October 2022

On Wednesday 8th June James had arranged for a night time walk into the woods at the Coleraine University of Ulster campus in the hopes of finding some long-eared owls.  At 10 pm in the fading light 11 members met at the Sports Centre car park and walked to the edge of the nearby woodland walk, where we were advised a pair of long eared owls had nested and reared 3 chicks. Seven of us were guided by John Clarke who has followed the development of this brood. At first all was quiet but then some plaintive cries pierced the gloom and three fledged young were each calling out.  Before long there was movement as the birds flew from tree to tree and one bird was particularly close calling above our heads and then landing in a tree facing us. I caught some of the movement and a flash of the underwing. The calling persisted over the hour that we waited in the growing darkness. James identified the outline of one of the birds on a branch.  I don’t have good enough night vision to claim to have seen the perched bird but I am happy to have spent the hour until 11pm listening to some long-eared owl chicks in the woods near my home, and to have seen them move around in near sight. Thank-you James and John for organising this. I wouldn’t have stood for an hour in the dark in the woods on my own!!

Heather Ferguson-Brown

Long Eared Owl