I love wildlife. I love everything about it, including sharing it with other people. Its one of the greatest feelings in the world when you see the joy and excitement on somebodies face when they see something wonderful for the first time, especially when you have a little hand in making it happen! One such occasion happened yesterday lunchtime. It had begun the day before, when I was chatting with one of the girls from work (Laura). She happened to mention she had never seen any Owls in the wild and that it was a shame because they were beautiful creatures. I told her I knew of a couple of places within 10 minutes of work where they were regularly seen, and asked if she would like to try and see them. She jumped at the chance! So, tuesday lunchtime we headed off to Marsden Old Quarry to try and spot the first species, a Little Owl. I've seen the Owls in here hundreds of times over the years and knew where the favourite perch was, but because I had somebody else with me who was desperate to see a bird I was feeling really apprehensive on the approach, but thankfully I needn't have worried as an Owl was right where it always is! Laura was absolutely delighted to see the Owl, and to get such good views! And seeing the smile on her face gave me such a wonderful feeling as well. After getting her fill of the bird, we then made the short journey to the Leas to see if any of the next species were on show. I parked the car on the coast road and before getting out had a quick scan through my bins, and very quickly picked up a Short Eared Owl quartering the long grass next to the mound. I was so pleased for Laura, and also extremely relieved for myself! We walked over to the mound and had exceptional long views of the bird as it hunted for rodents around us. Laura seemed genuinely excited to watch the show in front of her, and as before this gave me a huge buzz also. She was amazed that we had seen 2 species of Owl within the space of half an hour, and so close to work and home. And I was happy to share whatever knowledge I have to bring a little bit of happiness and brighten up somebodies day!
With the weather continuing to frustrate and hinder in equal amounts thoughts inevitably turn to sunnier times in the (hopefully) not too distant future. But until such times arrive, we'll have to just make do with a little holiday instead! And so, in a couple of weeks time myself and Maria will be jetting off to India to spend some time relaxing and soaking up the sun. To say I cant wait is a ridiculous understatement!!! It will be the first time I've ever been to Asia so am really excited. Most of the wildlife will be completely new to me which is always a thrill and to help me out in the birding department I've managed to hire a guide to take me out for a couple of mornings. As usual this is in no way a wildlife holiday but Maria is always kind enough to let me explore as much as is polite! So the next few weeks I'll be hitting the books as much as possible to prepare myself for all the goodies I might see!