A very wet owl

Conditions could hardly be described as perfect for hunting as I squelched into work through a rapidly flooding car park at Ainsdale this morning – so I was surprised to see a Barn Owl attempting to quarter the dunes beneath the office.
Just about the worse conditions possible for it – it perched up, drenched and looking thoroughly out of sorts after just a few moments.

Got a few blurry images of the bird in the gloom through the rain-streaked window and headed off to the first meeting of the day.
(“Sorry I’m late – Barn Owl on the fence” beats “dead Badger on the track at Basildon” every time Reggie).
I’d like to think it was a youngster, as late summer rain has probably made it a lousy season for them, but it was impossible to be sure as I tried to peer through the marram and the deluge.
Not a good morning to be a hungry owl though.

3 thoughts on “A very wet owl

  1. Hi John, I’ve been reading your blog for a while now and I visited Ainsdale for the first time yesterday (4th) for a walk down the beach, surprising I havent actually been before considering it’s really not far from me. Had a lovely time with some Sanderling and Barwits before a dog-walker strolled right through them. Also saw a few Gannet offshore. Was just wondering where about is the best place to seawatch from the dunes and what conditions would be best? Also where do you find the tide times? I’ve never really seawatched before although Im only 15 so I havent seen anything along the lines of Scoters, Divers etc. and this Autumn/Winter I’d want to try and get to the coast as much as possible. Any help would be appreciated? Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Will,
      Best place for seawatching on the coast is the Tobacco Dump and adjacent dunes at the National Trust’s Formby Point site (access at the end of Victoria Road, Freshfield) as it sticks out the furthest on the coast.
      Best conditions are westerlies/north westerlies, especially if they blow for a few days, although a south westerly can be good too.
      High tides are what you need, but try to get there at least 90 minutes before the highest point.
      For me, the cloudier the better, as I think the seabirds can see the dunes shining white in sunny weather and stay out near the horizon – although maybe that’s just me.
      Scoters, grebes and divers are best watched for over high tides in flat calm conditions from the dunes at Ainsdale, but you’ll need a telescope.
      Being where we are on the eastern edge of the Irish Sea, you have to keep your expectations low – (this is not Cornwall or the West of Ireland!!) but good luck with the seawatching – if you need any other help, just holler.
      PS Link to tide times for Southport is on the right of the home page on the blog, subtract about 20 mins for Formby….you can’t beat a bit of seawatching Will!


  2. Nice to see a Water Vole in Fine Janes Brook yesterday (weds), on the border of Birkdale/Kew in Southport. My first definite here after a possible swam distantly across the Brook about two years ago.

    Liked by 1 person

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