Friday, 9 December 2011

Short days and high ISO’s

We may not have quite the volume spectacle of Worlaby Carrs (if you are not familiar see here); but East Yorkshire’s owls put on an excellent show this afternoon, whilst showing one of my Yorkshire Water colleagues our Hempholme project - and clearly sensing my lack of camera - they decided to fly around us around 30 feet away, and seemed entirely comfortable co-existing with a pair of barn owls also present.
Whilst I would happily take credit for our habitat management at Hempholme, in reality, it is probably a better advert for Higher Level Stewardship Schemes. The wet grassland at Standingholme entered last year by local farming concern JSR’s clearly supports a huge prey abundance to support four hunting owls and a kestrel simultaneously.

A return with the camera last thing revealed the owls but a lack of light – records here:

In addition I left two owls hunting Struncheonhill ponds, only to find another on D res near the gantry. Either an owl had flown very fast down the drain – or more likely there are at least three now present in the area – we’re catching up with the South Bank slowly! In fairness though they are ‘fair-weather owls’ – they do not show in high wind or rain – the calmness of this afternoon was great for them.

Folk are starting to return more pictures though – check out Mike Randall’s page for some great shots here.

Also about was the kestrel consuming small rodent:

The last couple of days are still returning the greenland white-fronted goose with at least 50 eurasian white fronts – art shot here:

For much better of all the assembled geese see Dave Ware’s blog here. A white goose in amongst prompted a look yesterday – but was just a farmyard goose. Never-the-less thanks to AWbirder for this guide bill profiles in ross’ hybrids – which may prove useful again one day.

Red-head smew still on watton, where a peregrine was sat on the deck yesterday.

A final word of note: Be careful on the access road to Tophill – with the first proper freezes it can be dodgy as it is un-gritted – and a light shower at dusk this evening will make it very treacherous tomorrow.