Friday, 27 February 2009

Tyto's oot for the lads!

At last it's Friday and a 5 o'clock finish.
After only seeing the short-eared owl on Wednesday evening (it was a bright day and the light just about held on) I managed to get to Freeman's Pools before 5.30pm today where I soon met Pete Crooks. I cycled on ahead to get to the vantage point at the top of the pools while he walked up.
When I arrived I could see the short-eared sat on the fence near its favoured hunting area. Shortly Pete appeared and looking round I could see with the naked eye what I thought was the SE flying around, and told Pete that it was showing. As we both looked at it through bins we realised that it was way too pale for SE and - bloody hell! - it was a barn owl! Yet another long overdue and very welcome Aldcliffe tick! Two patch owl ticks in 6 days... this is getting silly!
The barn owl performed well, at distance, while the short-eared simply sat on the fence. Then Pete picked up a smaller, darker bird hunting along the edge of the pools - it was the long-eared. We then watched it as it flew along the water's edge finally coming to rest near the main gate (at the crossroads).
After a while we headed down but failed to relocate it - though we were still getting good views of the barn owl. Bill Myall then arrived, passing on his way home from work, and soon got a decent look at it too.
Both Bill and Pete then left and I decided to try up the path again and soon came across the long-eared which kindly sat on a branch staring at me for about 30 seconds. I didn't want to bother it so I left it to get on with the job of hunting. Stunning stuff!

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