Sunday, 29 April 2012


There was the unexpected find of this long-eared owl by Martin and Ann Cock at Maydays Farm on Sunday 29th. The discovery was quickly relayed to Steve, Andy and myself and we all abandoned whatever quiet Sunday afternoon activities we were doing and dashed down to see the bird.

Andy Field took these two photos of the owl as it perched on a fencepost with it ruffling its wings getting ready to fly, in the picture above. A few minutes earlier it had watched a fox walk close by which we thought might have flushed the bird.

Martin had first seen the long-eared owl as it flew along the borrowdyke towards a small plantation. He was surprised to find it wasn't the more often seen short-eared owl, but the scarcer long-eared owl. The last one seen on the Island was probably about ten years ago. This bird eventually took off and flew alongside a hedgerow for another 80 metres where it perched up for a few more minutes, with a few small birds making anxious calls beside it.

Other birds noted here were 5+ yellowhammers, house martin, cuckoo, pair of Canada geese and a couple of reed warblers were heard.

Earlier in the day a wheatear was seen on the beach at St Peters and a lesser whitethroat was heard singing. At the end of the day Steve walked the Strood seawall and noted cuckoo, whimbrel, 5 common terns and 2 swifts.

It turned out to be a good weekend for seeing the "eared-owls" as the previous day, I managed to see the short-eared owl again on Ray Island whilst walking the Strood seawall on Saturday. The bird was seen in the middle of the day flying low over the long grassland for several minutes. David Nicholls tells me that he has seen this owl several times over the last month. A cuckoo was also seen landing on a bush on the Ray, probably the same bird seen heard calling over the seawall on Friday.

The fields beside the Strood, pictured above, are mainly oil-seed rape although some are looking very patchy. One brent goose was still feeding in one field, a sparrowhawk flew up Strood Hill, four reed buntings were heard singing but only one corn bunting and also a little egret in the dyke.

In the channel 5 whimbrel were noted but other than 25 black-tailed godwits, very few other waders seen during the low tide.Two marsh harriers were flying over Feldy marshes and 2 common terns flying noisily up channel.

In Firs Chase 4 young moorhen chicks were seen at a pond near Firs Chase and some young robins have also fledged near here. The cuckoo flew over Firs Chase calling on Saturday as it headed towards Coast Road.

No comments: