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Saturday, October 31, 2015

The Halloween Owl, Soil Hill

            Migrant bird for Soil Hill, Long Eared Owl.


    Distant shots in fading light with trembling hands.

With NKs Wigeon in mind on Soil Hill and then JLs Stonechat off I went late afternoon in rapidly fading light with the intention of  getting some half decent Wigeon shots. A quick look on the Ned Hill track failed to produce Stonechat so a dash up the hill and down the other side towards the NK pond. The ducks were out on the water but at the distance were just silhouetted blobs and far too dark for photos. I took some snaps from as near as you can get which is still a great distance away now with excavation work on going, which later showed me there were 2 female Wigeon, 2 Teal and the rest Mallards, that was disappointment number 2.
As I scrambled down the north slope a raptor type bird flew ahead of me through the trees, kestrel thought I until it did it again and alarm bells rang.
Dropping down into the grass, wet grass that is, I got a fix on the birds position in the trees and slowly moved closer. The bird then broke cover from the trees before gliding back into them leading me on to Short Eared Owl. When I calmed down and my brain clicked in I thought whats a SEO doing in trees and why is it so dark.
After a few minutes the owl dropped onto a post briefly but very distant so a quick snap and check the photo Long Eared Owl !!!. Immediately then it flew out into the open and low across the Shay and out of sight.
Scaling back up the hill with the new 2 cwt lens round my neck I saw a quick glimpse of what I thought was the owl up by Jack Snipe alley so as I got to the top I strode very gingerly out onto the track. A look to the left, nothing, a look to the right, eck there it was sat on a fence post not 12 feet away from me. As we stared at each other I slowly started to lift the camera with visions of photo of the year but the owl had other ideas and glided neatly off the post and back down the hill.
Oh well, at least I got some record shots.
On the way back I checked Raggalds Flood which held a few Lapwing and very little water.
I don,t like Halloween but this one was ok.
BS