Tuesday, 28 January 2020

Short Eared and Tawny Owls

15th-28th January
Marlborough downs, Somerset Levels,Newton St Loe, Chew Valley
Blue Skies,sunsets, hail, grey overcast, wet.

Species Highlights: 
Short Eared Owl, Red Kite, Corn Bunting, Bearded Reedling, Tree Sparrow, Tawny Owl, Starling, murmuration

15th January I headed to my favorite part of Wiltshire for my fix of Tree Sparrows and Short Eared Owls, I was not disappointed! 
Corn bunting sat Singing, Yellowhammer, all greeted me on arrival.

But a sudden and not forecasted hail storm made everything disappear but after 20 mins the sun shone through and Tree Sparrow appeared.

Tricky to get close too but happy to get a few shots.

From There I headed up on to the Marlborough Downs for some Owl action, Kettle on and a sandwich before we saw any but 5 or 6 eventually showed well.

Hunting across the fields in perfect light for a change.

Such great birds always a treat to watch.

Catching mostly voles, this one mantling its lunch.

People gathered on the hills all having great views.

On the 19th Sunday Me and Lauren went back up, It was very different with cars, dogs and walkers everywhere. We walked around looking for some action and came across 4 Red Kites just chilling in the afternoon sunshine.

The Shorties did show but no where near as well but we were very happy to watch them.

Even if some people didn't even notice them!

We waited till sunset and it was worth the wait!

20th Monday we headed down to Ham Wall and Shapwick, no sign of the Firecrest or Yellow-Browed Warbler but this Chiffchaff showed well.

Great Crested Grebe feeding well on Perch , i think.

Looking splendid in winter plumage.

while looking for the YBW a group of birders spotted this fine chap, not often we get to see a Tawny Owl in the Daylight.

He sat for most of the day here by Avalon hide.

With the sunshine even got my first Butterfly of the Year a Red Admiral, just 58 to go!

From the hide 3 Marsh Harrier cruised past always distant.

A coffee then we walked over to Shapwick for the main attraction the Starling murmurations.

A slow start to the show tonight but soon there must have been 500,000 plus in the skies above.

Count that lot!

Lauren took these pictures, a great job!!

No real patterns but we did see Peregrine, Marsh Harrier, the Starling soon went down to roost was a amazing sound.

Once down to roost the skies turnned orange and red a perfect end.

21st January was the first full patch walk for me, it started with a heavy fog making visibility down to 50ft birding was tricky! Once at the Lake happy to see the Whooper Swan was still present, Little grebe, Tufted Duck also still about.

The resident Mute is starting to chase our Whooper, has been seen by someone this week to fly off but has since returned, i'll check in on him this Thursday.

Really pleased to see a Marsh Tit at the top of top lake, just the one,a bit scarce around these parts.

From the misty start the light was stunning by end of walk and good to be back on patch.
ending first full patch on a 39 count.

Weekend off work as we visited Lisbon Portugal 23rd-26th, a few good birds will do a blog soon.

Headed down to Chew Valley to a wet grey Hide at Stratford Marsh Harrier, Black Necked Grebe and 2 Bearded Reedling showed, light was awful.

Once I got home and warmed up noticed on the feeder tree at home 4 Bullfinch 3 Male and 1 Female again light bad so just a record shot of this stunning male, will try harder!

Wayne Year Bird List: 105
Lauren Year Bird List: 100

Thanks For Looking! 
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