Sunday, 17 February 2013

Owls in the 'burbs

The Safari ventured on to the beach this morning with the Shoresearch crew who'd come to survey our rockpools. After a brief briefing we set off along our allotted section of beach armed with our notepads, ID guides and quadrats. Our team were 'the no climbing up the wall' brigade and we 'randomly' placed our quadrats at 10 sites along the wall, some were low enough to need the expertise of Mike 'The Swish' and his shrimp finding sieve.

We had to take pictures of the Barnacles cos we can never remember their IDs. We seem to have a mental block when it comes to Barnacles.

In this pic you can see Spiral Wrack,Purple Lava and a tiny bit of Gutweed with the unidentified Barnacles.

We didn't take much notice of any other beachy wildlife only really hearing a Turnstone somewhere and watching someone's mutt chasing a few Black Headed Gulls.
After we got back we did a bit of gardening in the mild sunshine, hacking some of our Buddliea back to encourage more flowers in the summer and a bit of general spring tiding of dead stems. Some signs of spring were seen, Cowslips shooting, Peony buds emerging from the soil and quite a lot of unwanted grass that'll need attention in due course. After an hour or so we had to give up as we'd filled our 'green' wheely-bin to bustin and the material was too stout for our composters.
Then it was back to the owls as the sun was dropping.
It didn't take long to find the Barn Owl, if a little distant. Arrowed in case you couldn't find it :-)

We snuck up on it as stealthily as the SAS might but it did one well before we made any significant inroads into reducing the gap between us. Then we saw a Stonechat and snuck up on that instead. We hid below a low mound and waited but the Stonechat wasn't seen again and we assume it had gone to roost.
With no further sign of the owl we went back to the track, whereupon it reappeared on a post not 20 feet (7m) from where we'd been lying...drat!

Not much else was about this evening and deffo no Short Eared Owls - they are now firmly on the 'dipped' list!
Sunset was nice again
All these clouds are from aeroplane con-trails.
Where to next? What will Patch 2 hold tomorrow?
In the meantime let us know what's going to make it onto the dipped list in your outback.

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