Wednesday, 2 December 2020

Buntings and Short-eared Owls continued

I popped around to Thursley Common and walked out to Ockley Common. A small group had already got to the site before me which helped me locate the general area the Buntings favoured. After a while I picked up the Rustic preening deep in the bushes before seeing a few Reed Bunting and then the Little Bunting popped up briefly too. Sightings were limited and I was glad I carried the scope today as without it ID would have been difficult to say the least. The feeding flock remained mobile feeding on the ground in thick cover making any chance of decent images impossible so I didn't fire off a single shot. I also had a Red Kite and Buzzard over along with a flock of Redpoll and Goldfinch.A Woodlark was calling and a pair of Stonechat entertained me for a while. I did manage to do the social distance dance again but some people just don't seem to understand the rules. 

Ockley Common

I popped over to Gunpowder Park yesterday as the light was great but both Owls spent the whole day sat on their two seperate roosts. One roost area was surrounded at close quarters by people (I'll call them people as they can't be birders) two people even took their dogs into the area. No social distancing at all and the whole thing was quite distasteful to say the least. So yet again I failed to see the birds fly in decent light.

I went back this afternoon and as the light was less attractive today thankfully there was only around a dozen people spread across the whole park although again half a dozen still had the roosting bird in their sights. I went up the hill and waited and was eventually rewarded with a couple of flight views and one bird actually sat on the fence post at distance and then flew right by and sat on another post within a few feet of me. By this time as is usual the light had really faded but I managed a few shots with the ISO yet again creeping up. 

I have watched these Owls almost every night since they arrived in late October and they've been a great local distraction during the latest lockdown and I'm grateful to Neville for sharing the news with me. They are magnificent creatures and very addictive. I have enjoyed getting to understand their behaviour better watching them as much as this opportunity has allowed. As news of them travels many people are visiting them and some (not all) seem to have no respect for them and just because they can walk right up to the roost doesn't mean its the right thing to do and they really should know better. I try to discuss the rights and wrongs but not everybody is receptive to my opinions on it all. 

Last thing to share on this blog post is that I spent all day yesterday on site without taking a single image of the Owls and today I spent three hours to get the images above so it's not a matter of turn up and take a few shots as the Owls can be very unpredictable and the light even more so.

Only thing I pointed the camera at yesterday

Female Stonechat

Year list now 271

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