A Tawny Owl has been found at Castle Ward between Downpatrick and Strangford in County Down. Locals have reported that the bird has been calling in the area for the last couple of weeks and today Craig Nash found and photographed the bird in the Sunken Garden area of the site. Although the origins of this bird are not known, the bird is not ringed and does not show any sign of having been in captivity.
Castle Ward is a National Trust property and there is a charge for non-members visiting the site. Anyone visiting the site should respect the bird, keep a reasonable distance, desist from playing tape lures and obey any on site instructions.
As a postscript to this story we have received a sighting of another Tawny Owl from Anthony Hallam, an English student who is studying in NI and was not aware of the rarity of the species. Anthony saw the bird while carrying out a Hare survey in Mid Ulster in February.
Thanks to Craig for this excellent picture.