Ably assisted by Dave Roberts I carried out a Long Eared Owl survey on a local woodland on Friday night , the woodland is very private and has no public access to it or indeed near it. I have been given unrestricted access to these woodlands for surveying, and have monitored the site for the past 2 Years.
Long Eared Owls have long been seen in the area, both hunting the grassland around the woodland edges and the nearby Marston reserve, I have planned to survey it at night for the past Year but circumstances prevented this from happening.
We arrived on site at around 9.15pm to enable us to check out my favourite part of the woodland and hopefully get an early hunting Owl along the many grassy rides and field edges, but other than a Fox we had very little of note, a single Brimstone moth shining in the near darkness the only moth of note all night.
We headed for a much denser part of the wood as the darkness descended and immediately heard the first Long Eared owls calling , they were well into the wood but we were both delighted , especially Dave who hadn’t had them near Grantham before and had never heard the calls of the young!
We had got 3 Juveniles calling right in front of us,we then headed for a clearing at the side of the wood and immediately heard a 4thJuv in the distance from another plantation about 1/4 mile away, we then sat in the long grass for an hour listening to these Juveniles calling from both sides almost sounding like they were answering each other, and even seeming to get within about 20 feet of us .
We never heard or saw any Adults during our stay but I think had we stayed long into the night we would have .
Quite bizarrely whilst sat in the grass in total darkness we had a bubbling Curlew circling over us and the woods for a good few minutes !
We also heard many strange sounds in the fields which we couldn’t identify, a further walk around the woods produced no more Long Eared, we did have a Small Blue Butterfly in the torchlight and three pairs of very alien like eyes staring out of the darkness at us !
All in all a very successful night with both of us leaving with big smiles on our faces.