Hello all, its been a mere two weeks since my last blog post, I think this counts as fulfilling my blog resolution to post more often!
I've spent a tremendous amount of time in the pursuit of seeing Short-eared Owls this year. Shorties are my favourite birds without question and at this time of year I just can't help myself!
A few sightings have occurred in an area near me; an area that has held wintering birds in the past. I have visited the area probably a dozen times now - at dawn, at dusk, in the middle of the day, during rain, during wind, during sunshine and have precisely zero sightings to show for it. Yay.
The local Little Owls have been more obliging thankfully. I've recently been corresponding with fellow owl enthusiast Richard Pegler who also owls in the same area as I do and as a result we've both gained a couple of new sites to monitor. Cushty.
Because I've spent so much time owling recently, my quest to improve my county list had gone off the rails slightly. In January. Not a good start! In my defence I have been swotting up on my gull I.D theory; I must admit I was lacking in that particular area and thought I'd better release my inner larophile as a warm-up technique. I had intended to head over to Albert Village lake on Tuesday afternoon to have a look for some white-wingers but was sidetracked before I began by the Great Grey Shrike in the far east of the county..
Great Grey Shrike is a bit of an enigma for me - before today I had seen three in the UK; two at Harrington and the odd bird at Fakenham the other winter but never one in Leicestershire. So I was keen for this one to be the first county tick of the year, even though I'd forgotten to add it to the list of "most wanted" species in my last post. Oops.
Either way, off I went and got extremely lucky by all accounts. As I approached the spot where it had been reported from last, I saw a bird perched on a hedge about 50m away. And there it was. For just about long enough to rattle off a few record shots.
It disappeared almost immediately however so I departed down the road for a look to see if I could find it, didn't, and so returned to the place I'd seen it last. Three other birders including Steve Lister had appeared by now and had relocated the bird very distantly on the opposite side of the road to where I'd seen it. It quickly did another disappearing act so off I went, happy.
17 to go!