Wednesday, 27 October 2010

10x Short-eared Owl et al.

I was working down in south Lincolnshire today watching a few Golden Plover and Lapwing which was enjoyable - especially after yesterdays total washout. Whilst conducting my survey, in a random field in the countryside I had flyover Merlin twice and a flyover Peregrine. It amazes me how many Merlin and Peregrine Falcons I see at my sites which are all pretty much random pieces of countryside, it makes me wonder how under-recorded these species may be during the autumn/winter months.

On the way home I popped into Worlaby Carrs to check out the raptor roost. Unfortunately by the time I got there I'd missed the 3 Hen Harriers coming into roost however I caught up with a flock of 11 Waxwing flying through the south of the carrs, whilst following these I noticed a Short-eared Owl, then another, then another so started to concentrate on these.

I made a maximum count of 8 birds at first, then started watching the 4 Barn Owls as they hunted the rough grassland. Another count of the Short-eared Owls a bit later resulted in 10 birds been observed, they were actively hunting, chasing each other about and being harassed big style by Kestrels and assorted corvids - a spectacular sight. I counted at least 9 Kestrels in the air at once - most of these harassing either the Barn or the Short-eared Owls, and there was probably more perched up/out of sight, likewise with the Buzzards of which I had 3 at once.

Farmland birds included Fieldfare, Redwing, Yellowhammer, Reed Bunting, Tree Sparrow, Skylark and Corn Bunting.

It seems like the whole of the UK is covered with Waxwing, Dave has found 20ish in Harrogate, Ade's been having them all over his in the north of Scotland, actually managing to catch one too. My friend Rich is over in Norway and has been reporting many Waxwing (and Fieldfare and Redpoll) moving through, heading straight for the UK, however he did manage to catch this adult male the other day - Check out his blog - Rich Birder, for an interesting daily account of the comings-and-goings at Lista Bird Observatory.

Image © Rich Cope 2010

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