Tuesday, 13 January 2015

13 January 2015: A day of two halves!

It was a beautiful sunny morning and I had the whole day ahead of me so I decided to go to the Forest of Dean. I hadn't been there for a while and there were a few birds I hoped to catch up with. By the time I got to the Forest the day had already started to turn grey, in spite of the forecast. I reached Parkend and checked for the Hawfinch - they were there at the top of the tall trees by the cricket pitch so I set up the tripod and camera and took a few pictures. As I started the pictures it started to drizzle and after about 10 shots it started to rain heavily. I ubpacked and got back in the car and waited a while, but the rain had clearly set in so I headed home. These are the few Hawfinch pictures I managed in that space of time.

I hoped that the weather might improve as I left the Forest, but it doidn't stop raining until I had reached home. Even then it look threatening and did rain on and off for a while. At about 1330 the weather broke and rather surprisingly the sun came out. This left a short window of opportunity and given that the wind had dropped it seemed that there was a good chance that the Short Eared Owls at Hawling might come out early. Sure enough the first one appeared about 1430.
A Barn Owl also showed in the distance but I wanted to concentrate on the Shorties today.

There were at least 4 present and they were putting on quite a good show.

One of the Owls landed in the grass and spent quite a while rooring about and then looking about.

Suddenly when he raised his head this time he had a vole. He still kept looking about warily, you could see that he could hear the camera shutter,
and eventually he flew off about 20 feet

to settle and et his prey. When he left here he had no vole in his talons. This was the first time I had seen an Owl with a vole on the ground before and certainly the best shots I have taken of a Shortie flying off with one.

As usual there was a lot of inteaction whenever they came across each other while hunting.

and when they are in the mood even the Ravens get chased.

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