Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Barn Owls

Dengemarsh - 0830hrs - cold, sunny, ne 4 - Decided to give the hayfields a grilling this morning. From Springfield Bridge the recently drilled arable field attracted 21 Reed Buntings intently feeding on, seeds I guess. The flood and hayfields combined pulled in 12 Ringed Plovers, 10 Dunlins, 10 Lapwings, 4 Redshanks, 50 Wigeons, 40 Teal, 20 Shovelers, 10 Shelducks, 8 Gadwalls and a Snipe, but no sign of any Garganeys or LRPs. Several Marsh Harriers were working the reedbed at Hookers and a Raven flew over `cronking`. From the causeway road singles of Smew, Little and Great White Egrets on ARC.
Barn Owls have been easy to see of late across the Marsh and I`ve had many reports from non-birders telling of "white owls" flying beside roads, and in particularly on the outskirts of Lydd near Belgar Farm. This morning I saw this particular owl at 10am in bright sunshine flying a few feet above the verge and perilously close to the road edge. As soon as I saw the bird ahead I slowed down but it wasn't long before a lunatic came past me at 60mph, tooting Captain Slow; and therein lies the problem. I hope I`m wrong but the prospects for this Barn Owl do not look good.
ARC/Tower Pits - 1530hrs - Having spent most of the day at the RM Visitor Centre was good to get out and about for a stroll this afternoon with the mutt. We worked the wet pools behind the pines  searching (unsuccessfully) for a Jack Snipe but could only muster up 2 Common Snipe, plus the duck Red-crested Pochard lurking among the reeds on the main lake. From Screen hide 3 Smews, 5 Goldeneyes and all the usual wildfowl, a Great White Egret and 2 Marsh Harriers. There was no sign of the LRP reported earlier at the south end of ARC.
On the way out of the car park a Barn Owl flew across the road from Boulderwall and started quartering the cleared scrubby area beside the track to Hanson. Yet another cracking view of this gorgeous owl out hunting in broad daylight, which suggests that they may be having trouble finding food.

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