Lade - fine, dry and sunny, W2 - Its not unusual down here to wake up to the chatter of Magpies in the fir trees opposite the cottage. However, their cacophony level this morning was off the scale with eight birds being joined by a couple of crows ensuring a right old racket and suggesting to me that `something was up`. Eventually I got myself together for our daily circuit of the local patch and investigated. One Magpie, bolder than the rest, was in the vanguard lunging at a `brown blob` in the canopy which turned out to be an owl; and not any old owl but a superb Long-eared Owl that for a brief moment showed its erect ear tufts and bright orange irids before flying silently off towards the south with the mob in pursuit. This is only the second Long-eared Owl I`ve seen hereabouts, also in October and similarly located due to being mobbed by corvids in a fir tree.
Elsewhere on the local patch: two Wheatears and six Stonechats on the desert, two Swallows and a Black-necked Grebe on south lake, while the scrub by the ponds was jumping with up 30 Chiffchaffs snapping up insects in the sun trap. A few Goldfinches, Linnets, Meadow Pipits, Siskins, Redpolls, Skylarks and a Grey Wagtail passed overhead. Also seen today locally: two Pink-footed Geese at Scotney, four Cattle Egrets and a Glossy Ibis at Boulderwall, Dartford Warbler at Dungeness and a Red-backed Shrike at Littlestone Golf Links.