What a hoot at nature reserve

A family of tawny owls are proving popular at Northumberland wildlife Trust’s Hauxley nature reserve.

By Andrew Coulson
Monday, 28th June 2021, 12:35 pm
Updated Monday, 28th June 2021, 2:35 pm
Tawny owl chick seen through a telescope at Hauxley. Picture by Alex Lister.
Tawny owl chick seen through a telescope at Hauxley. Picture by Alex Lister.

Taking advantage of the peace, tranquillity and lack of visitors due to the reserve being closed for five months, a pair of tawny owls took up residence in a nest box in the car park area and, 30 days later, three chicks made an appearance.

Once the owlets were half grown, they went through the phase called ‘branching’ when they walked, climbed, jumped and fluttered around in the playground area and trees adjacent to the Wildlife Discovery Centre.

The parent owls were able to locate them by their contact calls, but to ensure they did not get distressed, the playground area was closed to members of the public who delighted at being able to watch the antics of the owlets.

Tawny owl chick in a tree at Hauxley. Picture by Alex Lister.

Speaking about the addition to the reserve, Hauxley Wildlife Discovery Centre manager Alex Lister said: “We really missed our visitors during lockdown earlier this year, but the wildlife didn’t as they had free reign around the place.

“Because it was so quiet, tawny owls bred in the car park area.

“Needless to say, we have been monitoring their progress and will continue to do so as they start to fly around the reserve.”

The reserve’s new and flourishing Hazel Wood and surrounding fields, which were planted six years ago to provide additional habitat for a variety of species, are also a great place to look for barn owls.

With parking for 60 cars, takeaway service from The Lookout Café and an outdoor seating area, the Hauxley reserve on Druridge Bay is open from 10am to 5pm daily.