Having recived a tip off from Dave about the status of the owls this year I decided to get out and go get them seen. I decided to set off around 7, as that was when I could get a lift to the site. No sooner did we arrive on site than did a Short-Eared Owl fly across the road right in front of us. I was pretty speechless. It kept flying away from us so I could only grab a record shot, but it says enough.
-Short Eared Owl
As soon as I got out of the car my attention was drawn away from the owl and onto one of my all time favourite birds, the Common Snipe, which was sat on a fence post nearby. Not only that, but there were a few snipe all drumming together, which was a phenomenal experience, my favourite sound in the whole of nature.
My attention then turned back to the Owl, although there were plenty of other things going on as well. I was pleased when the owl landed as I was able to get a proper good look at it, and not just it wings and profile. It was distant but through the scope the view was phenomenal. I grabbed a few digiscoped shots but the light was fading and the Shortie was a long way off, so its little more than a record shot.
Its the first time I have seen a Shortie on the deck, so I was pretty chuffed about that. And it was about to get even better as a Long-Eared Owl began hunting the moors behind me. Sadly, continuing camera faults meant all my shots from this encounter came out very poorly, but this is probably as a result of the light too.
It did not matter in the end though. I moved on to the site described by Dave and spotted a stunning adult sat out on the bilberry bushes along the fringe of the trees. Through the scope the view was unreal. I grabbed a few digiscoped shots but the light was fading and the camera battery was on its last legs. After a while watching it the Owl flew off into the trees. It was without doubt one of the best experiences I have ever had with an Owl, possibly with a bird, what an absolute beast.
I left the owls too it, in case I would lead to any disturbance, and got a lift back. It has been quite a day. Both Eared Owl species put me on 197 for the year. We look well set to beat last years total as it stands.
Undisclosed Location: Short-eared Owl, Snipe, Golden Plover, Red Grouse, Curlew, Meadow Pipit, Kestrel, Skylark, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Mallard, Canada Goose, Lapwing, Pied Wagtail, Long-eared Owl, Oystercatcher, Merlin, Carrion Crow, Woodpigeon, Pheasant,