Sunday, 4 February 2018

Post 481 - Outstandingly Obliging Owls & the Wonderful Wild Watch

Me and Spike the Barn Owl
Hey everyone, a great post today for post 481 about an amazing opportunity I was given that happened today. If you regularly read my blog you'll know that I've been working with a great project called The Wild Watch. It's based in Nidderdale and is surveying 50 key species across the area of outstanding natural beauty so that they can see what is happening with their populations and work out how best to look after the land to help the wildlife. This year I'm looking forward to two things in particular, the first is reptile surveying, but the second is related to my opportunity today - Owl surveying!

Flynn the Tawny Owl busy surveying the area
A key part of The Wild Watch is getting more young people engaged in nature so to help with the Owl surveying they are going to go to the schools in Nidderdale and talk to them about the project. As part of that they wanted a film about Owls to use as part of the talk. As youth patron they asked if I'd like to do the film. It didn't take too long to think about as Owls are a family favourite, I gladly said of course I'd do it!

So today we headed down to the Thirsk Bird of Prey Centre to do some filming. It's a great place. I've been a few times when I was younger, they have some absolutely amazing birds there, 30 species altogether. They very kindly said we could come along  to do the film and we had the place to ourselves as they don't open to the public until March. As if that wasn't kind enough one of falcloners, Kerry, also came in on her day off as she looks after the Owls that we wanted to see!

Sprout the Little Owl
So my family and a few of the Wild Watch team and their children arrived not long after it had stopped sleeting so it was a bit chilly, but the cold didn't bother us much and we certainly forgot about it as soon as the Owls came out. The film was great to do and it was really just explaining a bit about the Wild Watch and how we want all the school kids in Nidderdale to help survey the area for 3 species. One of the best bits was that I got to hold the three species, a Barn Owl (Spike), a Tawny Owl (Flynn) and a Little Owl (Sprout). Owls are so beautiful and it was such a privilege to hold them and see them up so close. While I was holding them we filmed a few facts about each Owl and the other young people there added to them too. I think it'll be a great film and I hope it gets lots of people out looking for these wonderful creatures.

Flynn was very watchful
Since I heard about this opportunity I also saw that the BTO are having a year of the Owl and are also raising money to be able to find out more about these special creatures. I started wondering how I could help. I've done some fundraising before, recently mainly through selling calendars, but a while back I did a sponsored walk for a local wildlife santuary. I've noticed other young conservationists have done walks lately too (like Georgia Locock and Dara McAnulty) so I started thinking about this and then Dad reminded me that there is a Nidderdale Way - so it all seemed to fit into place quite nicely. It's a 56 mile walk around the Nidderdale AONB. I know little bits of Nidderdale but not all of it so this is a great way to help out the Owls and spend some good time out exploring a bit more of the area.
I'm talking to the BTO and the Wild Watch and I'm still making plans but once I know when I'm going to do it I'll be setting up a page for people to sponsor me. I'll make sure I let you know when!

So the last thing to do is to say a big thank you again to the Thirsk Bird of Prey Centre, to the Falconers Colin, Kerry and David, to the wonderful Owls Sprout, Flynn and Spike and to the Wild Watch team for giving me the chance of this wonderful experience.

Hope you enjoyed,