I always find this period between Christmas and New Year has a bit of " a no man's land" feel about it. The big day is behind us and we look forward to the New Year and starting our bird lists all over again. I find it a frustrating time as you cannot get anything sorted out and the whole world seems to be out and about on the roads or walking around some of my birding sites. I intended to walk around Sywell Reservoir this morning but both car parks were full so I drove away thinking I would stop at Pitsford, but again due to the amount of people I didn't bother.
Even the valley below Hanging Houghton didn't escape as people were everywhere and then about 20 4x4 vehicles full of shooters and dogs arrived at the big barn before heading off around the fields. No chance of a peaceful walk and needless to say I saw no birds of note today.
On a different note, my other main hobby is dog agility. At the weekend I went to a competition called the " Festive Challenge" in Warwickshire. As I was driving to the venue a car travelling towards me hit a Barn Owl which landed in the road in a heap. I quickly stopped my car and opened my drivers door and scooped it up before the next car arrived. I literally threw it onto my front passenger seat where it fluttered and then went quiet. I thought that it had died. I continued to drive to the venue and it was about 07.45hrs and just getting light when I arrived. When I looked at the owl I was very surprised to see it trying to sit up albeit very wobbly. A quick check revealed no obvious injuries so I made it safe and comfortable in my car whilst I carried on to compete with Tor and Jaeger. I think its fair to say that both dogs were full of the festive spirit as Jaeger didn't listen and made his own courses up whilst Mr Reliable Tor decided to party around. Needless to say they were both useless !!!!!
Late afternoon when the competition was over I checked the owl and he/she had spent the day asleep and had left me a present behind of a very fresh regurgitated pellet.
On my way home I was able to stop along the stretch of road where I had picked it up in the morning. I sat him/her on a fence and kept my fingers crossed. He/she sat there for a couple of seconds before flying off across the fields. I was very relieved. Whilst I had not had one of my best days at competing the sight of the Barn Owl flying across the fields more than made up for it.