Saturday, 12 November 2011

Harrier Field produces again

Short-eared Owl
Ian picked me up early this morning and we got on the patch pre-dawn. Like yesterday, it was very foggy and it was a struggle to see further than one hundred metres. Once it started to lift slightly, we began to wander. An hour or so after arriving a Short-eared Owl was flushed from the dank ditch in Harrier Field - giving further evidence for my theory that this is a regular roost site at the farm. I have seen two at the patch before and they have both been over Harrier Field, the latest of those (this April) appeared to fly from this ditch and it looks ideal for them.

The owl flew into a nearby ivy bush but soon flew and was hounded by Magpies and Carrion Crows and disappeared into the mist. A few minutes later it re-appeared and seemed to be dropping down on the other side of the lane - reassuring us that the bird hadn't been forced off-site. The mist thickened again but we pressed on and the sun gradually came out and burned the worst of it off. We were pleased to see a large flock of Lesser Redpolls (no Mealies with them as far as we could see) and the newly-born 'Not Quite So Piddly Pond', the reincarnation of Piddly Pond. I might just keep calling it Piddly Pond... The council's notice told us that we were in for wader action (see attached snap).


I heard a Crossbill fly over but couldn't get on it, seeing as this follows five yesterday (which were high - probably why I couldn't get on this one) I'm wondering if there's a flock hanging around somewhere within five or so miles. It was a good day for Lapwings, with a total of 46 throughout the day. Although (Woodcock aside) it is the commonest wader at the patch, they are usually pretty tricky to come by (there were 22 records last year). The second-best birds of the day came in the form of two Common Snipe which called and flew over Roy and me shortly after dusk - unfortunately Ian had chosen to walk back to his car another way and missed a potential patch tick.

Piddly Pond mid make-over; will I get Moorhen before the year's end?