Two Dutch Girls on a Road Trip to Wiltshire

Road Trip 2017 (2) - Richmond to Chawton to Salisbury.

Good afternoon! Would you like to join me for the second part of my road trip in the South-West of England? A long time wish of my daughter...

Thursday, 9 January 2014

What are you 'into' ? Amongst other things, I'm into Owls.

Ever since I was a girl, I have been fascinated by owls.

I lived in the country, far from school and school friends, so I was a child who had to arrange her own entertainment; and I could. Books were my friends, ever patient. And all the animals around our converted farm (my bedroom was in a converted outhouse) were a constant source of diversion.
Alongside the outhouse and stables was a narrow waterway. Home to ducks, herons, lots of rats and a bath for the cows and horses in the meadow next door. The banks of the waterway were planted with willows, ancient ones, which were mostly hollow and falling down. 

In the willow nearest to the door of my bedroom there lived a pair of Athene noctua, I believe they are called screeching owls in English, but I'm not completely certain. (They are the smallest owl species in The Netherlands)
They used to call to each other, 'kieuw!', or 'werro!' when they got excited, but I used to pretend they were calling to me.
courtesy of Natuurblad
I didn't see them very often, which made it even more exciting when I did see them.
The Wind in the Willows was one of my favourite books then, and I always wondered why there weren't any owls in it. But thankfully there was an owl in Winnie the Pooh.
When I was a little older, I read about the totems of the Native Americans, and there was an owl amongst them, which was totally understandable to me.
Steenuil, or Athena noctua
The funny thing is that people keep sending me owl photos.
I don't ask for them, they simply arrive. And I am very happy to receive them. I'll leave you with the latest one I got; it's been taken by Rina van der Veld, who is in South-Africa at the moment, and who spotted this beauty. I wonder if anyone of you can tell me what species this is?