Saturday, 23 February 2013

Frequent, heavy snow showers passed through the area for this mornings patch walk, making for a bone chilling and difficult patch visit, most of the time my bins were made redundant, as the snow was so heavy, but little of it settled though and by midday it was all thawed  :-)

Despite spending 3 hours out in the conditions, I didn't get round to visit all of my patch, the College Grounds were missed, but a good look around all the other areas was possible.  A surprising species tally of 44 was recorded, surprising as the likes of Coal Tit, Long Tailed Tit, Treecreeper, Nuthatch, Mistlethrush and Redwing weren't found.

However, there was a real surprise awaiting me in the Tree Nursery, I had already passed through it and was crossing the sheep pasture towards the Wet Woods, when I looked back, as I often do, and fleetingly saw a CARRION CROW mob a big white bird, they then both disappeared behind a row of shrubs, but I waited, then out from the other side came a BARN OWL (75,69)  WOW ! Fan-bloody-tastic!!! This is just the second Barn owl I have recorded in the 12 years of watching my patch, the last one was an individual that overwintered in 2008/09, well that certainly made me forget the cold  :-) and of course, it sets a new February species tally   :-)

Scanning the field next to me, also sheep pasture, there was a trio of geese species, 4 of them CANADA, 2 GREYLAGS and the feral BARNACLE GOOSE. Moving on to the lakes, all was very quiet, the snow fell heavily and the wind was biting, just 3 more Canada geese were seen, plus the COOT pair and a couple of MALLARD and MOORHENS, but as I was leaving I heard the hooting of a TAWNY OWL, very nice, two Owl species on the same visit   :-)

A GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER drummed from the Wet Woods, where two GOLDCRESTS where also watched at close range, I heard a couple of SISKIN flyover, and a JAY squawking, but apart from that everything was staying hidden.

 I made my way over to the Greenhouse Grounds, via the Tree Nursery again ( I just wanted more Barn owl views - which I got) but my mission was to get to the Greenhouse Copse to find a LITTLE OWL, which I did, making this visit an historic one indeed, as its the first time I have recorded three owl species on the same visit :-).

A small triumph was yet still to be had, for as I stood at Migrant alley in a near blizzard, I heard the first YELLOWHAMMER (70) this month call as it flew over, extending further the February species patch record, a LAPWING was also seen to battle its way north against the driving snow, and I was surprised to see a pair of SPARROWHAWKS displaying in the sky, clearly relishing the conditions, which I personally found too much in the end, so headed off home, frozen toed, but well happy with my sightings for the day   ;-)

Of course, late this afternoon I was out again, lying in wait at the Tree Nursery hoping for a sighting of the Barn owl, Camera in hand, I gave it ninety nimutes, but it never showed, I did see another two Little Owls though, plus a COMMON BUZZARD, a CORMORANT and a couple of REDWINGS,  none of which were seen this morning, taking the daylist to a creditable 47 species  :-)   I'll try again for the Barn owl tomorrow, I just hope it stays around for a while.
Barn Owl - pellets, found in the shack at the Tree Nursery, that's all i could manage photographically!
Here's some blog brighteners from the Garden, taken earlier in the week -:
Marsh Tit
Add caption


Joe said...

Well done on seeing that Barn Owl, that must have been a real surprise. Hopefully it will stick around a little longer so you can get another sighting of it.

Also, those Marsh Tit photos are fantastic, always quite exciting to see those.

Phil said...

Great stuff Warren! Hope the Barn Owl hangs about for you.

Lancs and Lakes Outback Adventure Wildlife Safaris said...

Two pellets! Barny's been around a couple of days perhaps.

Congrats on new monthly record. Bit blase about Barn owls up here (don't know if this will work - from the other day)
Barn Owl 4 Between Bradshaw Ln & Lancaster Rd
Hen Harrier male Between Bradshaw Ln & Lancaster Rd
Barn Owl 1 Skronkey
Barn Owl 1 Upper Birks Farm
And there's plenty more



Marc Heath said...

Now that's a real bird, I hope it hangs around for you and you get a shot to post for us all.

ShySongbird said...

You're an owl magnet Warren! Very well done with the Barn, I haven't seen one since I was about ten!! And you had the proof to show us ;-) Methinks you'll be freezing those toes off looking for it again very soon. Lovely Marsh Tit photos! wouldn't a Barn Owl on the bloglog be something :-)

Anonymous said...

Nice one Warren. You`re making it pay big time..this month.

Warren Baker said...

Hi All,
Being lazy now replying to you all at once!

I'll be all out trying to get a Barn owl photo, if it stays around (I'll do my best not to interfere with it's hunting of course),
Songbird I don't think i'll get it on the 'blog log' anytime soon though ! LoL

Greenie said...

Warren ,
Bitter it certainly was , especially hedgelaying up on the Hogsback .
Well done hitting the 70 , and hope the Barn Owl stays around .

Kieron Palmer said...

Nice find mate!

Kieron Palmer said...

Nice find mate!

Mike H said...

Fantastic to get a Barn Owl on the patch Warren. Would be ecstatic to get Marsh Tit in the back garden you lucky man.

Jason K said...

Nice one on the Barn Owl mate! I have only had 2 in 6 years at Shenstone I know how excited you must have been!