Thursday, 12 March 2009

'owling wind

Thought it might have a bit too breezy for owling today but it appeared not to be the case, and the wind dip drop considerably later in the afternoon.
Got off work early and headed to the pools for about 3.45pm. I checked the one known roost but there was nothing there, so I headed for Marsh Point. After a bit of a search I headed back down to the cycle track where I met Guy. Trying to find somewhere out of the wind proved difficult and eventually we settled on him watching from the track viewing area while I went back to the top.
A green sandpiper dropped in and then Guy called to say the long-eared owl had appeared (approx 4.30pm) and was sat on a fence post about 15m from them. I could see it with bins and decided to head down to join him and the other few now gathered. It then flew and landed on another post along the cycle track. Just as I approached the area it flew and started hunting in the open just in front of me. I could go on, but let's just say that it put on a decent show for a good hour giving everyone stunning views. Interestingly, a couple of times it went into Freeman's Wood (the first time I am aware of it doing this).
The LEO eventually headed off up the marsh having done its usual Luneside fence-sitting exercise. Brilliant stuff. I'm really going to miss this bird when it finally departs!
At 5.57pm the barn owl made an appearance and, again, gave superb views passing incredibly close to us. At one point it stooped and flushed a snipe! The barn owl was last seen as it disappeared over the riverside bank.
I just can't tire of this amazing spectacle.

Cheers to Guy for the fab shots taken this afternoon.

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