The Safari went out last night to see if we see find the Barn Owl that has been out and about at all times of day this last week. While we were waiting we were treated to low hawking flights ofSwifts, watched a Whitethroat hop in-between patches of Greater Willowherb collect food for hungry mouths and listen to a chorus of Blackbird, Song Thrush, Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff, Blackcap and Robin from the bushes behind us we were using as cover.
Over on the far side of the field we spotted PL on a stake out. Nothing happened - not a Barn Owl in sight. after a while PL made his way round to our side of the field and we started chatting about the owls, he'd had some great pics earlier in the week, and the town centre Peregrines and those on the water tower which we told him we'd not seen for ages...lo and behold it was there later when we took Frank round for his last sniff of the day! The Fox was out too.
After our chat we had to get back home, where we'd parked the Land Rover is a little lane popular with tw*ts for dumping their rubbish. There was a smelly old mattress lying over a small piece of ply-wood...well you've just gotta turn em over and have a look; haven't you! Two Short Tailed Field Voles, two of last years Toads and this striking wee beastie! A female Great Crested Newt from last year or possibly the year before, certainly not fully grown; she was a little longer, (probably half as long again) than an adult male Smooth Newt and at least twice as bulky. One for the FARG records! (is everyone elses connection to this site as slllooowwww as ours?)
We were actually hoping for the voles and wanted a pic so at least we could show you what Barn Owl nosh looks like but they were far too quick for us.
Today we were invited along with the BEAT Naturewatch crew to view these little beauties...Great Crested Newts might have the rarity value but these chaps and chapesses have the rarity value and good looks in spades too...Sand Lizards!!! Ohhh boy do we like or what!!!!!
Read all about our visit on the Fylde Amphibian & Reptile Group's blog
After tea it was back out to the nature reserve for the small matter of the invisible Barn Owls. One appeared briefly (187; Nat res 89) but set off away from us over the fields and far away. We saw PL again on the far side of the field and met up with hin to tell him the bad news. After chewing the fat for a while we headed off to see if last night's Great Crested Newt was still under the matress as he'd not seen one for a number of years. Tonight there were no Short Tailed Field Voles and no Toads but the number of Great Crested Newts had doubled to two!!! More (and better) pics on PL's Flckr site.
As we were rattling off a few frames the Barn Owl appeared only a few feet from us. Time to cover the newts and head off in chase...
A few near misses later we got thi atmospheric shot of a Barn Owl carrying prey back to the nest against the setting sun....chuffed to bits fo another great evening on the nature reserve.
We also have to mention the two Kestrels on the barn and two Stock Doves flying around too. With all the excitement we forgot to look for the Little Owl...dooohhh
Where to next? Probably nowhere with 'Scheduled' species.
In the meantime let us know what the little beaties are in your outback.
Off to turn the moth trap on.....