Sunday, 12 January 2014

Two of the red headed kind

The Safari had a visit from a real Conservation Hero, as described in this month's British Wildlife Magazine by the very knowledgeable Twitcher in the Swamp. He'd come with his mum to join our Long Eared Owl guided walk. Almost as soon as he'd got out of the car his sharp ears picked up an overflying Siskin (79; MMLNR #53) - how's about that for a start!
Once all would-be owl spotters were assembled we set off at the appointed hour in search of our quarry - actually we'd already been round after earlier hearing a couple of worrying negative news's from other birders; thankfully we got to the roost site and promptly found one - What a relief!
Young FW quizzed us all the way round and his knowledge and enthusiasm for someone so young is very encouraging for the future state of our beloved wildlife.
As we approached the viewing area another family was walking towards us after trying unsuccessfully to locate the owl. Of course we let them join us and they were relieved to have been able to see the Long Eared Owl (after a fashion) after all.
Something about them tickled us, their son was the spitting image of young FB - how mad is that!
Which red-head is which?
And here's the owl - well this is what we were faced with - it is in there somewhere, honest...can you find it?
We'll give you a clue
Did you spot it and would you have done if you were on your own on site?
We walked around the reserve with FW still asking his questions; "what ducks do you get?" he asked. "Oh all of them" we told him. "What about Pintails?" "No we don't get them"..."Trust him!" said mum...then would you credit it he said what's those three birds flying there?...two  male and a female Pintail!!! (MMLNR #54).
We stopped at the Platform to look for the Iceland Gull that had been seen yesterday but there were extremely few gulls of any description this afternoon and we learned we'd missed a Bittern!
moving on to the Feeding Station where most of the birds disappeared minutes after we arrived - the rotters! A male and female Pheasant showed off their resplendent colours, the females beautiful colours being much more subtle but no less enjoyable.
We spent the last hour in the hide overlooking the scrape where we didn't see any Otters or Bitterns but did have lovely views of the Barn Owl as it came out of the nest box and  started to hunt. It soon went across the fields and out of view. It was a while later when we said it was about time the next Barn Owl came out of the box...and no sooner had we got the words out than this happened!
OK so it's not the best pic of a Barn Owl you'll ever see, it was pretty dark by now.
We waited a little longer until we lost the light without the Otters or Bittern coming out to play for our distinguished guests - what were they thinking!
As we were getting in the Land Rover a Woodcock (80; MMLNR #55) flew over us not sure if the Wilde family got a view of it 
So many thanks to all who came on the walk today, we trust you enjoyed it and look forward to seeing you all again soon.
Where to next? We have a site visit to 'look for' Great Crested Newts tomorrow - no your right we're not going to find any!
In the meantime let us know who deigned to grace your outback


cliff said...

Shame I didn't turn up to make it a trio of ginners - although mine is mostly grey thesedays.

How the dickens did you find that LEO amongst that lot? I reckon your owl should be nicknamed twiggy!

Findlay Wilde said...

I really did have a brilliant time and not just because of the owls. It's a great place and I can;t wait to come back again. From findlay