Monday, 12 January 2015

10 January 2015: Windy day in the Cotswolds.

It was still very windy after the overnight gales and it was also very cold, so I opted for a drive through some of the Cotswold area to do some birding from the roadside. I started off driving through Great Barrington area, particularly looking for the Great Grey Shrike and Hen Harrier that have been reported in the area. I was able to see the Shrike, keeping low on a very distant hedge, too far away for a reasonable record shot and not in a popsition where walking the public path would have got me any closer. There was no sign of the Hen Harrier, but in truth it was just a little too windy to go and stand under the trees in the position where I have most often seen it on previous occasions.
The main birds out to play were the Red Kites between Great Barrington and Great Rissington- Kite by name, Kite by nature it would seem. They were lapping up the wind, regardless of whwether they were at high or low level and it looked like they were expending almost no energy, just a small change in wing or tail shape and they were off.

  Joining them in the skies were three  Common Buzzards, who looked like a family group - it certainly seemed like I could still hear that plaintive begging cry from one of them(-:).

 In all at one point there were 3 Buzzards and 6 Red Kite in view at the same time, thoroughly enjoying the wind.

 Hawling, the location of Short Eared and Barn Owls, was on my way home so I decided to call on my way. As I turned off the main road towards Hawling, I spied these 2 Roe Deer in the corner of the field - they very kindly waited and watched while I got the camera out and even waited while I took a couple of shots, before turnil tail and moving off.

 Because of the wind direction and the coldness, I was pretty sure that I wasn't going to see any Short Eared Owls in decent light today and that was one of the reasons I left it so late to get there - many of the popular parking and biewing spots had already been take, though chatting to people as IU went past, it was clear that now Owls had been out yet. My plan, however, was to go to thend where the Barn Owl often appears and hunts, quite often before th Shorties appear and drive him off. As I parked up and kitted up, I caught one glompse of it hunting but by the time I reached my chosen spot it had disaapeared from sight - unfortunately from my chosen position to catch him hunting, I couldn't tell whether he had gone or was sitting on one of his favourite perches.  I settled down to wait for a while in spite of the cold and wind, based on the fact tht I had already seen it. I had a good long chats with one of the locals out walking his dog and we put the world to rights. Then it arrived - it came over the brow and down the field towards me on a hunting run. He dropped into the grass several times but caught nothing and then when he got as close to me as to fill my lens he turned and flew off down the lane over all the photographers waiting for the Shorties.

 Rather than pack and go, I though I would walk upp to a point whwere I could confirm that there were no Shorties out and came across a very obliging Brown Hare - my best views by far to date.

There were no Shorties about and it was starting to get darker as it was now 1620, so it was time to head off home. I later learned that there were no Short eared Owls photographed that day.

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