Saturday, 10 December 2011

ever expanding owls...

A quick update just to whet folks appetites again; I undertook some construction work on the sluice at Hempholme meadows this afternoon and was therefore present to monitor owl activity. Prior to 14:15 there was no activity at all on the northern site with a succession of failed observers coming and going.

However regular Paul connected with – as suspected – three short-eared owls showing well from then onwards. Martin then arrived and with more pairs of eyes we could ascertain there were at least 4 short-eared owls present. Whilst none came particularly close to our observation point I could at least better my own shots as below:

Note the second bird top right here:

They are constantly on the move in and out of Struncheonhill shooting estate so there could easily be more. In addition we caught a brief glimpse of a smaller bird which had good potential for hunting long-eared. Also about were at least three barn owls too.

As promised follow the link here for a map of the location; the arrow shows the approximate epicentre of owl activity. Note the public footpaths marked in green and please stick to them. The area of woodland and scrapes the owls are hunting is in a private shooting estate (and a great example of how shooting when managed correctly can benefit conservation) – but there is a pleasant walk all around the perimeter which negates any need for anyone to enter the interior (from which people will and have been escorted off by the owners).

Also at this end of the reserve were two green sandpipers on the river Hull, and our greenland white-front and 69 eurasian’s successfully evaded the Watton Carr shoots, being present at dusk on D res.

If the rain moves through early enough for some daylight and it remains calm hopefully the owls should perform again tomorrow late on. A forecast windy week will likely force them into the grass again subsequently.