I cant take the credit for finding it but have local birder Simon to thank, who kindly alerted me of the bird on 28th October. I went down the next day and after waiting a few moments i was watching this super bird hunting over the marshes. Over the coming few days i managed to work out roughly where it roosted and its favoured perches.I managed to record some interesting footage of it one early evening being mobbed by a number of Crows and Magpies before landing on a fence post near to where i stood. Next he took up and spooked a flock of 11x Snipe which ended up taking to the sky.I had never seen a flock of Snipe in the air before, only ones on the marsh or scrape edge, so watching and hearing these as they flew round against the setting sun was a real moment.
I then was lucky enough to have the bird land even closer to me ( i had hidden up in a bush ,in Johnny Kingdom fashion). I too my moment to study this superb bird and look straight into its striking Yellow eyes, surrounded by its buff white facial discs & black patches. A real picture moment!
|Short Eared Owl- Thorpe Station Marshes|
I had 7 more visits to the patch to catch up with this bird and every time was an absolute pleasure. It was here for a total of 14 days to my knowledge, the 11th November being the last time i saw it.
I managed to get down again one last time on Friday before new year's and managed to pick up my 76 bird for the patch! I caught sight of a Woodcock as it took up and flew over the river, landing in the woods at Whitlingham on the other side. Other then a nice singing Song Thrush and the expected winter wildfowl it was pretty quiet.
Ive really enjoyed watching the my local patch this year, through the seasons and seeing birds come and go.Probably the highlights for me were a passing through Wheatear which stayed for a few days, watching the Great Crested Grebes rear there young, Green & Common Sandpipers and a drop in 4x Greenshanks, a reeling grasshopper warbler and of course the Short Eared Owl.I ended up with 76 species for the patch in 2010 which i had only been recording from the middle of April, so i hope this year to be able to make it nearer to the 90 or even 100 mark with a full 12 months.
So all that leaves is for me to say a big thank you to all of you who have kindly helped me out along the way , weather it be details of a local sighting or joining me out on the field and sharing your knowledge , its been all been appreciated!
I look forward to bumping into you all soon - Happy birding and Happy New Year,