Big owls and beautiful blurs

Plenty of giggles padded out the hours when spring Spurn fever failed to kick in today after Neill picked up myself, Andy and Jason and raced over to the east coast.
Drizzle and cloud giving way to bright, warm sun in May – surely the old place would come up with the goods?
We overtook a hunting Barn Owl out near the Broom’s Cross road, before slipping into warp and were pulling up near Sunk Island for 9am.
After a bit of soil scouring, a gorgeous trip of seven Dotterels gave themselves up as Skylarks, Cuckoo and Whitethroats sang. Brilliant.
As ever, despite the lovely colours, the Dotterels could melt into the soil of the field remarkably well, their presence betrayed only by their dark bellies and shocking white supers, that met in a stunning “v” on their napes.
What birds!
Superb scope views as they fed, but too far away for anything but blurry long range zoom pictures of one of my favourite birds…it was a relief to see them as another season of checking Plex on an almost daily basis comes to a close again without Dotterel joy on this side of the Pennines.

At least two full adult females in the trip, it was so good to see ’em again, who cares if they were too far off for the camera?
Moving round to Sammy’s Point it was quiet – a few Brent Geese on the Humber, Whitethroats, Sedgies etc, although two ringtail Hen Harriers circling south raised hopes for a raptor day.
A dirty great Short Eared Owl hunting the bank opposite Kilnsea Wetlands also hinted stuff was on the move, a joy to watch as it patrolled in the bright sun.

But after that the wheels fell off a tad – Beacon Lane had Lesser Whitethroat, Brimstone, Wall Brown and Orange Tip butterflies, and a few Wheatears were around a traumatically gussied up Canal Zone car park.
Little Terns scooted out to sea from Beacon Ponds and another Cuckoo was calling but other than that it was quietening down, apart from a steady hirundine movement south, so we pulled out and headed into the desolate, perplexing and altogether daunting massif of Thorne Moors on the way home.
Bad call.
The sound of duelling banjos is still echoing in me head.
Three hours after arriving we were still trying to find the location of a male Red Footed Falcon there, but other than close hunting Marsh Harriers, this vast vast vast area simply mocked our woeful lack of gen, chewed us up and spat us out onto the M62 for the ride home with The King (if you haven’t got a copy of “Gravelands” you don’t know what you’re missing…)
Chin chin to Neill, Andy and Jase – see you all soon…

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6 thoughts on “Big owls and beautiful blurs

  1. Hi john just a note thought was interesting i live by Aintree Racecourse and since Nov we have had no House Sparrows at all but in the last three weeks we seem to have lots now .Do they move away for the winter somewhere ? They are nesting under the gutters of houses near by.

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    • House Sparrows are really sedentary Paul, but they do undertake short “migrations” influenced by food supplies. Maybe your interesting record reflects that… They show up on the Sefton coast sometimes some distance from breeding colonies to capitalise on food sources.

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  2. Spent Sunday afternoon in the dunes beyond Sands Lake. Good sunshine with Small Heath, Common Blue (males and tatty looking females – how long have they been on the wing?!), Wall Brown, Small Copper, Peacock and several whites seen. Best of all was a male Emperor moth flying close over the ground vegetation. Stunning.

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