Monday, 30 January 2012

Finally Some Short-eared's

In the midst of what can only be described as the shittiest weekend ever! Heartbreakingly having to have my 6 yr old Springer Spaniel 'Paddy' put to sleep after breaking his leg, The only small conciliation is he was doing something he lived for chasing Pheasants! My sisters and I decided to head out for some fresh air and to try take our minds of things.

With the abundance of Short-eared Owl pictures on my Blog feeds daily, I thought I'd try and find some locally. With rumors of a regular sighting on Bransbury Common near the A303 at Longparish, we headed out on the scenic route from Wherwell to Barton Stacey over the top of Newton Hill.

Didn't take long to serve the car on to the grass verge as 2 familiar shapes descended from the
fence-line on the side of the road. A pair of Short-eared Owl working the 6 meter conservation strips around the headlands of the surrounding fields. Now as you'll see in the following pictures the light was pretty much non-existent even though it was only around 2pm, So unfortunately no in-flight shots partly because of the light, partly because of the 2 English Pointers that appeared over the crest of the hill, closely followed by 2 Terriers that disturbed the Short-eared's from the grassy bank.

With no owners in sight and the area notorious ground for "Dog men" I put a call through to the local gamekeeper, pretty certain he had poachers out on a Sunday afternoon, my initial thoughts confirmed as   one Pointer came sprinting past hot on the heels of a fleeing Brown Hare. Around 5-10 minutes passed before about 800 meters away the Owners could be spotted heading across another field, all four dogs about 400 meters in-front of them. At least they were on the footpath! Turns out they weren't poachers, just highly irresponsible dog owners! Equipped with a sharp telling off from the Gamekeeper!

So back to the owls, having walked back up to the car, the pair now working the Grassy cover strip left on top of the hill, back and forth crossing the road to the ploughing on the other side before a couple of minutes later returning again. Always dropping just out of sight. Having spotted on break off and return to a fence post in the distance, I was a little shocked to see 2 lift up from the same spot and treated to a short talon locking display! Brilliant!

Still seeking some kind of photograph, I had a quick peep out on the ploughed field, a little surprised to find a pair of eyes some 50-60 yards out staring back at me from atop of a furrow!
Short-eared Owl
Short-eared Owl
Short-eared Owl
Short-eared Owl
Photos in the bag and the temperature dropping we headed back to the car, to discover a flat battery!  Could this weekend get any worse? 20 mins later and a rather hair raising push back down the hill in reverse and the ignition kicked in! So we still didn't even make it to Bransbury Common but a
decent-ish reward in the end I guess! 3 Short-eared Owls spotted!

1 comment:

  1. Sorry to hear about your crappy weekend. Thats the trouble with pets we become to attached.