BIRDS: Spotting my first tawny owl (17th May 2014)

After my search for adders at Cannock Chase with David Nixon, talk turned to owls and birds of prey. Tawny owls are another speciality of his and he was surprised to learn I had never seen a tawny owl. He told me about a Staffordshire Wildlife Trust nature reserve called Parrot’s Drumble, and that he had heard Tawny owls there.


I have always been on the lookout for a tawny owl but I have never been lucky enough to spot one.

So, on Saturday morning, the sun was shining and myself, Mum and Dad took a visit to Parrot’s Drumble which is only a 5 minute drive from where I live. It is quite surprising how many amazing places there are right on your doorstep which you are not even aware of.

The trees are now full of leaves and foliage making it very difficult to see and photograph birds. We did hear song thrush, robin, blackbird, blue tits and great tits at the reserve. Parrot’s Drumble is also famous for its carpets of bluebells. But as more foliage on the trees is appearing, the less sunlight there is for the bluebells to survive.IMG_7792 IMG_7790

As we were walking along the pathway, we saw something swooping over the trees. It was a large bird with a large head so we were certain it was an owl and not a bird of prey. We saw it land high up in a tree, but there was so much foliage that trying to spot it was extremely difficult. But we knew the owl was there and we were determined to stay there until we spotted him.

The owl landed high up in one of these beech trees making it very difficult to spot him…

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We finally saw him. Just a brown patch which looked like part of the tree from such a distance away. He stretched his wings which helped us to spot him. We needed binoculars to see him clearly. I was worried that he may spot us and fly away, but on a few occasions he looked directly at us completely unfazed by our presence.

owl 1 owl 2 owl 6 owl 5 owl 3


We were soon joined by a couple walking their dog. The first time they had visited the reserve too. They were curious to know what we were looking at. The owl was very difficult to see, and even with binoculars they were struggling to find him through all the foliage. But eventually they did see him and it was also their first encounter with a tawny owl.

We were extremely lucky to see the owl flying across the trees in front of us. I really don’t think we would have seen him otherwise. It certainly made my day!



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