The Little Owl (Athene noctua) is a bird which is resident in much of the temperate and warmer parts of Europe, Asia east to Korea, and north Africa. The photographs below were taken in the UK, but the Little Owl is not native to the UK, it was first introduced in 1842 and is now naturalised.
The RSPB estimate there are more than 6,000 pairs in the UK. This is fascinating for me as here in Denmark we also have some fantastic farmland (the Little Owls prefered habitat) yet there are only a handful of breeding pairs. Small in size, but not in character, the Little Owl is a small owl, some 23-27 cm in length.
In Danish the name is “kirkeugle” translating to Church Owl. This is often a view shared across Europe due to the Little Owls penchant for churchyards. The “most famous” pair in Denmark “live” opposite a churchyard in the farmlands of Jutland.
Remarkably the above two photographs are of the same bird, the photographs were taken approximately two hours apart in the usual unpredictable English weather.
The “Kestrel” has fascinated me since I was a kid and after I watched the classic English film, KES, a film directed by the legendary Ken Loach, whereby a young 15-year old Billy Casper struggles in the hard life of a mining village in Yorkshire in the late sixties, that is until he raises and trains a young Kestrel. Poor old Billy has to contend with being bullied at school and at home, especially by his abusive half-brother, Jud. KES allows him to escape into another world, although for those of you that have seen the film, Casper’s footballing skills do not improve, especially when he comes face-to-face with the slightly balding Bobby Charlton, aka the school sports teacher, played by Brian Glover. If you haven’t seen the film, watch it, it truely is an English classic.
So, back to reality, and the Common Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus), also known as the European Kestrel, Eurasian Kestrel. I was back in “blighty” for Easter and I managed to get out for the day in Yorkshire, probably not too far from the mining village of Casper, to do some photography, the target species being the Common Kestrel.
Here’s a couple photo’s from the trip.