Its always satisfying when you find your own scarce bird, some people might say that Little Owls are not that scarce, I'm lucky if I get one or two sightings a year, so, a scarce bird for me.
Most of my Little Owl sightings have been around the traditional birding reserves.
Stodmarsh had a regular haunt at one time, there use to be an old out-building next to a dead tree on the top of the hill as you drove into Stodmarsh village, long gone now.
Another regular site is at Elmley RSPB reserve where Little owls have been breeding around the farm, for some years now.
Ashenbank woods are where I exercise my dog, an early morning walk in all weathers most days, quite good for woodland birds,
Treecreeper, woodpeckers, Nuthatch, the occasional Marsh Tit, and plenty of summer warblers, even Waxwings last winter.
So it was with some surprise, when my wife and I came across this Little Owl, always quite wary.
We first crossed paths in April 2012, there were regular sightings throughout the early summer months.
Hard to tell whether it was a male or female, but on one occasion
two owls were seen, but then they mysteriously disappeared, no further sightings throughout 2012, and not seen again until a single sighting in June 2013, on the same tree as previously seen.
I assumed that they were still in the area, but moved to a more suitable nesting site.
So in February 2014, as I walked past the old tree, and glanced up, there was the Little owl, staring down at me, sitting outside the hole seen in the above photograph, I must admit, brought a smile to my face.
I'd like to think its the same one as seen before.
Maybe it is or maybe not,
but they do traditionally return to their previous nesting sites.
I hope it settles in and doesn't move on, been seen two days running now. so further updates to follow.