This morning I read yesterday's blog update by Richard Hampshire, the reserve warden at Tophill Low. For the second time he opined the lack of any photographs of his Short-eared Owls which have been present for nearly 3 weeks. I thought I would assess how hard they were to photograph at the site, so this afternoon I took my teacher-less nephew to have a look.
We had no longer arrived on the northern edge of the site when we saw 2 SEOs - a Kestrel was having an altercation with one of the owls. One owl disappeared from view, but the other came very close. Although it was just over a drain and partially obscured by a barbed wire fence, and most of the photographs had to be ditched, I was able to take some fairly decent record shots. Nice to actually photograph some locally & not to have to pay the bridge tolls for the privilege! A further advantage is that these birds hunt over a pleasant green field, much more aesthetically pleasing than the rather shrivelled brown habitat the ones I've been watching in Lincolnshire spend their time flying over!
Also at the site were a pair of Barn Owls and at least 5 Kestrels. The male Barn Owl was so much whiter than the darker - more camouflaged female. A pair of red-head Goosanders flew over, & on the way back a Hare was extremely confiding. All-in-all a very pleasant way to spend the dying hours of a winter afternoon!
At one stage a chinook helicopter flew very low over the reserve and only just missed going directly over D reservoir - needless to say it flushed the wildfowl off this stretch of water.
The barbed wire fence shows a lot in this one!
Hare - if I crouch really low he can't see me, surely?
Barn Owl - the male?
Barn Owl - the female?