Friday, 9 January 2009

Who gives a hoot?

After my last posting I had a wander round the Loch to see if I could squeeze in another year tick or two. We have a few Little Grebe that spent the winter here and I always fear they could become a snack for the Otters. I counted four Little Grebes out there and 2 Otters fishing the shallows but not near the Grebes. Good views of 2 GN Diver doing a lot of chasing each other and calling - either pairing up or 'get off my land'!! Travelling a bit further on I completed the trilogy of Divers for the year with a Red-throated.

So, who gives a hoot? Going back to 5th Jan I was standing outside admiring the view when I heard a strange barking call coming from the wood not too far away. I heard the call 3 times and then attempted an imitation of the call and out flies an Owl straight over my head. Bear in mind this was about 5:30pm and dark, the bird could have been a Tawny but the wings looked too long and I've not heard a Tawny 'bark'. I'm wondering if it was a Long-eared Owl (see pic). The Tawny's have been making a right racket every night, kee-vik, whoo-hoo, so they do give a hoot.
We went off to stick making (a shepherds crook or walking stick in case your wondering) classes last night and the hope of a Barn Owl on the way. Not two minutes down the road and Barn Owl was in the bag for the year, my 100th species this year. The drive back home at about 10:30pm produced another 4 Barn Owls and a Woodcock. Result!
Tomorrow is winter Bird Race day so hopefully a few more year ticks to be had there. It's going to be wet and windy so that will provide a challenge for everyone. Last years total was 73 species with 89 species seen by all teams.


The Wessex Reiver said...

just popping in for a read Big Yin after seeing you were following my blog. Welcome to the mad world of blogging... it's looking good so far. And any photos of otters very welcome, in fact any mustelids.

Bryan Rains said...

Hi Andrew
Thanks for dropping by. Plenty of Otter photos - I'll get some on soon. Had a visit to Shapwick - Noahs Hide? - good views of Otters to be had there but I guess it's a busy place too.