|Freeman's Pools at dusk|
I've heard from several dog walkers that barn owls have been showing fairly regularly and after that brilliant spell back in early 2009 when we had barns, short-eared and long-eared owls all present it was definitely got to be worth a good look.
I also wanted to see if any woodcock were flying in from Freeman's Wood to feed at the pools, as they often have in winters past.
As it happens, I got down there a little too early for owl-action and so happily checked the Wildfowlers' Pools, the Flood and everything in between.
|The Aldcliffe drumlins viewed from the Flood|
Other wildfowl in and around the Aldcliffe area included the usual mute swans, shelduck, mallard and teal plus good numbers of coot and the large numbers of moorhen.
I have noticed that the number of adults to 1st year moorhens suggests that 2012 was a very productive breeding season. I don't know what numbers are like at Leighton Moss and elsewhere, but there are at least 50 moorhens on the Aldcliffe patch at the moment.
|Moorhens, moorhens everywhere...|
I headed up along the track to Marsh Point and started scanning over the western edge of Freeman's Pools - traditionally good owl habitat.
Within a few minutes a barn owl dutifully appeared as it hunted over the rough ground, giving pretty decent if somewhat distant views. I continued to check around the pools for signs of any other species but I couldn't locate any other owls, and I also dipped on woodcock.
A merlin dashed through in the fading light, chasing a lapwing which managed to escape its speedy pursuer.