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Monday, 16 March 2015

A Ghost over the Marsh

For nearly two weeks, a Barn Owl (Tyto alba) has been seen over the rough grassland at Tottenham Marshes in North London.

We don't know where it roosts through the day, but as the sun sets, it comes out to hunt.

I've been over to see it twice so far, and yesterday evening shot these video clips.

The Barn Owl hunts both by sight and hearing. It flies soundlessly with even the rush of air over it's wings silenced by fringes on the feathers on the leading and trailing edges. This not only means that any prey (voles and other mammals) don't hear it coming, but also that there is no interference with it's own hearing. The facial disc helps to focus the sound, and the owl's ears are at different heights on the side of it's head to improve the ability to sense the direction of the sound.

I was watching the owl with friends from the Friends of Tottenham Marshes. Please like and follow their Facebook page or visit their website.