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21 October 2012
Another Sunday and another planned early start. Rain in the night, north easterlies, of course you'd want to get up early and hit the patch.
I managed 09:30, after the news of 2 ouzels playing sitting-on-the-bushes-and-shouting-out-for-their-pictures-to-be-taken, had been received on the phone. I'd got to the crossroads of centre path and the new drain route when I chanced to look back towards jubilee. Some corvids were harrying something. Something which, on closer inspection, turned into a Short-eared Owl. Being late pays again!
I rattled off a few shots. It was hard to judge how distant it was, but looking at the pictures, I'd say Surrey! I called Jono, he needs SOE having been on the way to Shetland, bed, on the way from Shetland on the last 3 occaisions one has been spotted. No reply. I saw Josh, who was wandering towards centre road. He too had seen the crows but hadn't a clue as to what the 4th bird was. I set him right. He's only been birding a few weeks and already he has Ring Ouzel, Wood Lark, Tree Pipit and now Short-eared Owl on his list. He probably saw the action before I had got on to it, jammy feck!
Jono called back. He had got my group text and was now up from the breakfast table scattering kids and his aunt in his haste to get out of the door. Not ideally placed, it was hard giving directions to the owl as I had no idea where it was in relation to any other point on the flats. Finally after about a few minutes, that felt like an age. and after losing the bird as I tried to juggle phone, bins and ciggie, he managed to pick it up by the beyond the two towers on the west of the flats. It made him happy, which is probably the best result that could have happened. A patch tick for him following Bob's yesterday. I want one.
So here it is, another one to add to my growing collection of very small far off birds, which are just about recognisable for what they are.
You'll also be pleased to see that I improved on the ouzel shots of yesterday, or perhaps not. But they are heading in the right direction, give me another few weeks, I'll have it nailed.
I have discovered that I can do a reasonable impersonation of an ouzel "chucking". I thoought so, the ouzels were less impressed. Did help me to stumble upon a rather nice pair of Blackcap though.