Category Archives: Short-eared owls

Burton Marshes on Tuesday

Burton MarshesI can't remember seeing the Dee Marshes in snow before. They had a somewhat Siberian air to them.

The birds were keeping their heads low. I can't say I blamed them. I was eventually rewarded with a (very distant) view of a short-eared owl on the hunt. It was the long, flappy wings that gave it away. Other than that, I only spotted a few gulls and a couple of grey herons. I'm guessing there were also little egrets about, but they will have been uncharacteristically camouflaged.

Grey heron, Burton Marshes
Grey heron, Burton Marshes

More photos here.

First sighting(s)!

No updates for a while. I have been busy, and the weather has been pretty abysmal. But I do have some recent sightings to report:

On 21st November, we had a day-trip out to Whitby. Walking along the pier, I spotted a bird fishing about 100 yards away. It was not a cormorant. I then overheard a chap behind me, who had a massive telephoto lens, tell his companion that it was a red-throated diver. Of course, by the time I got my own lens out, the bird had disappeared. This would have been my first red-throated diver, but I don't think it really counts, as I didn't see it well enough to be able to confirm the stranger's identification. I did, however, managed to get rather close to some turnstones!

Turnstones
Turnstones

And then, this Tuesday, I visited Burton Marshes. Before I had even turned off my car's engine, I spotted a rook half-heartedly mobbing something. I grabbed my spare binoculars from the glove box and was treated to two minutes worth of female hen harrier flying back and forth, hunting above the reeds. She was only about 50 years away. Fabulous views—and my first absolutely definite hen harrier. But, unfortunately, my camera was in the boot!

After the harrier had gone, I got out the car and got my camera ready, just in case she returned. Then I spotted some birdwatchers watching something through their telescopes a long way off. I'm pretty sure it was another harrier, but it really was a long way away. But, as I was watching, a short-eared owl appeared from the north and flew towards me. And this time I even managed to bag some photos as it hunted in pretty much the same place as the hen harrier had!

Short-eared owl
Short-eared owl

Not bad for 10 minutes' bird-watching.

… Oh, nearly forgot: I also took a rather nice photo of a stonechat:

Stonechat
Stonechat

Other photos from Whitby »
Other photos from Burton Marshes »