We have lift off. Long-eared owls breed regularly in our area and this year several of the immatures have remained in the neighbourhood, feeding indepedently and roosting in a small plantation of sallow and conifers. It has thus been possible to get close and take pictures.
However I also went to watch the parents in spring when they were feeding the birds above and was astonished by their capacity to locate and catch voles. I wrote about it in the Guardian here.
By August the young had acquired most of the characteristics of their parents: the flame-coloured eyes, something of the ‘ear’ tufts and all the customary softness and enigma of nocturnal birds. As I have said elsewhere there is no such thing as too many owls.