Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Killing Time with a Passerine

Yesterday afternoon looked as if would be the most promising for Tophill's Short-eared Owls, but what to do in the meantime? I decided to go up to RSPB Bempton to look for the Desert Wheatear now the hordes of twitchers had died down. Unfortunately, no one had seen it that morning & I wasn't very hopeful. I made my way to where it had last been seen, but although there were a few scattered observers around no one had seen it.

I was a few yards from the site of the Gannet colony when I noticed a flicker of wings along the cliff edge & then a small passerine emerged and landed on a fence only a few feet away - it was the Desert Wheatear. My camera was on the wrong setting & after I'd rattled off several over exposed shots it flew further away & pulled out a couple of worms. It then flew across the field & was too far for any more photos to be taken.

On to Tophill & walking towards the favoured owl site I was delayed by a Fox up at the back of D reservoir. I caught him on the grass & knowing I'd seen him he shame-facedly returned to the path & made his way to the interpretation board & continued going, keeping to the path at all times!

I hadn't been at Hempholme long when at 1.20 I spotted a Short-eared Owl flying in high from the east towards the spot where I was standing. It just glided down until it reached the green grassy area south of the shooting estate. It then hunted on and off for the next 40 minutes before a second bird emerged from the trees behind it. 5 photographers were in various positions about the site, but when the light disappeared behind thick cloud at 14.25 I decided to call it a day. Other birds heard or seen round here included a large flock of Fieldfare, and a Great Spotted Woodpecker missing most of its tail feathers & the sound of a couple of Bullfinches flying over and a single Redpoll.

I'm not sure I'll get another chance for photography for a while, as the forecast if pretty dire for the remainder of the week.
Desert Wheatear
Short-eared Owl arriving after flying in high from the East
Dropping in to Hempholme
You can just make out those amazing yellow eyes

Stooping down for a non-existent kill

Intent on getting to the interpretation board

Tree Sparrow at Bempton

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