Monday, April 04, 2016

At last. Patch Little Owl

My patch is some wildlife-friendly fields by a river, with overgrown hedgerows, some tall trees, and crops left in the field. I've frequently walked the patch thinking surely, surely, there must be a Little Owl here. And back in 2007 I did hear one at dusk, but since then ... nothing.

Until today! Boing, boing, in bounding flight across the field like a weird mechanical toy, flew a Little Owl. It perched in a small tree giving excellent views for about ten minutes before I moved on. Where has this thing been hiding? Have I just been overlooking it? I think not, as on the return part of my walk I found it again in a tree, quite easy to see on a scan, so maybe its just moved in. Welcome!

Elsewhere the pond is slowly turning into a mini Minsmere. Water Rail and Cetti's Warbler were heard here last month, and today a Kingfisher of all things sat in a bush looking for prey. There were 7 Shoveler, 2 Gadwall, and 4 Teal, and a pair of Coots are now nesting. No sign of the Little Grebes that have been seen here on occasion, but there was a Grey Heron in the reeds.

On the Herts side of the river there is a distant field with a dip that has become flooded. It needs a telescope to see properly, and no doubt will become dry and overgrown, but today there was a Green Sandpiper, a Shoveler, a Gadwall and a few each of Teal and Moorhen. Last month this held a male Wigeon for a day too.

Elsewhere on the walk a few lingering Linnet, four singing Chiffchaffs, 2 Redwing, 2 Meadow Pipits, and a male Kestrel.

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