Monday, 31 October 2011

Must try Harder

Up and out early this morning due to the clocks going back but unfortunately the birding did not repay the effort. The Bay was near deserted.
Around the estate all we found were a few gold crests and the odd fly-over siskin but other than that it was very quiet. A walk down to Chequers along the beach was similarly unrewarding - a few mippits and skylarks. The highlight of the morning was the curlew sand which remains in residence on Restharrow along with 15-20 common sign of the Jack though.
Curlew Sandpiper

After coffee and with the weather forecast promising a bright afternoon I went over to Grove to see the glossy ibis. It was there it took till 2 hrs for it to get reasonably close and by then (2.30) the light was going.
Glossy Ibis
The birding was quite good in the intervening 2 hours with 3 peregrines showing, one spending most of the time on the deck, at least 3 marsh harriers (juvvy, female and a male) and a male hen harrier showing several times – though always over by the river.
Juvenile (and distant) Peregrine
By 3.30 I was back on the Ancient highway and settled down to wait for the hope for short eared owl. I didn’t have to wait long because one soon appeared hunting over the golf course and giving stunning views - views that my photographs failed to duplicate. I should have upped the ISO because the slow shutter speed (only ~ 1/250) meant everything was blurred.

Short-eared Owl
This bird hunted down to the Chequers when I lost sight of it but a few minutes later it re-appeared working it’s way north over the Willow Farm (RSPB) area of Worth marsh.
A little later I spotted 2 SEOs over the rough pasture down by Dickson Corner so I moved down to there. One of the birds disappeared immediately but the other hunted in that area for the next 10 minutes or so  – though the light by this time was fading fast and even using ISO 100 I could only get 1/400 to 1/500th of a second.
Short-eared Owl
So brilliant views but rubbish my teachers would always say "Must try harder".


  1. Some good birds seen Steve even if the conditions were against getting good photos. Will they still all be here when the cloud lifts and the sun shines ?????

  2. Steve, I know exactly how you feel. Saw 4 SEO at Shellness today and not a decent shot amongst them . Even had 3 in the frame at once. I must say yours aren't that bad well done.