Saturday, 14 January 2012

Short-eared Owl disgorging pellet

Today I had one of those mornings of birding that was full of interesting sightings. So I headed for home, sated and happy, having had my fill of Red-throated Diver and Water Pipit, not to mention a fantastic flock of hundreds of Herring Gulls close at hand to sift through for an hour.

As I drove out of Barns Ness and Whitesands I passed the posse of birders waiting for the Short-eared Owl to perform. Despite not having seen the bird this year, I resisted the urge to stop again. Manuel had flagged me over earlier after he had watched it quartering the rough grass, but I was soon distracted by the arrival of a group of Greylags followed by three European White-fronted Geese. After my wild goose chases of the autumn and early winter they pop up when I am not even looking for them! Their arrival put me an hour behind schedule straight away...

So after getting my fill of the albifrons, I applied a steely grip on the steering wheel and decided not to pause for 'just five more minutes' at the owl site. The Short-eared Owl of course played a blinder. Not only did it intercept me as I drove away, but it then landed on a fence post opposite a passing place, where it sat and disgorged a pellet as I watched! Fantastic birding moment.

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