Nov 292023

During the late autumn, a large number of Short-eared Owls arrived into Britain from Northern Europe. They appeared to be pushed across by unprecedented storms and probably a shortage of rodents in Scandinavia. Short-eared Owls are a regular winter visitor to our shores, but some large numbers were counted, especially in Norfolk, as they arrived along the east coast.

They have now taken up territories at various traditional wintering sites around the country, and I visited one along the Humber Bank in mid November. We had 7 birds, as well as at least 3 Hen Harrier, a distant Barn Owl and a distant Marsh Harrier during the morning. In the same fields there were small numbers of Stonechat. The owls put on a fantastic display for us, as we watched them from a lay-by pull in, standing and using the car as a semi-hide. They were not perturbed by our presence at all, even flying along the lane, right in front of us on occasions. 

Nov 292023
My Local Bird News

On 31st October I found 4 juvenile Shags at Foremark Reservoir. Part of an inland influx after the recent storms and the first record in the county since 2020. One bird was colour ringed with a blue DARVIC ring. I managed to discover that it was from a ringing scheme in Scotland. Unfortunately the bird was always too distant to read the number. One bird was still present on 21st November and the corpse of one bird could be seen on the top of the draw-out Water Tower. No idea what happened there. Also on 31st October I found 3 […]

Nov 052023
A Day at Flamborough Head, and a few rather Rare Birds

A first winter male Red-headed Bunting had been present at Flamborough Head, Yorkshire, for a number of days in mid October, tempting me to go and see it, having been found and tentatively identified on 21st October 2023. This species is super rare, and despite previously being recorded in Britain, the species is currently classed as Category D, due to many of the older records relating to adult males, at spasmodic times of the year. However, recently records have been reassessed since the cage bird trade was banned during the 80’s. All records post 1990 are being reviewed, as since […]

Nov 052023
A Derbyshire Red-throated Diver

A juvenile Red-throated Diver was discovered on Butterley Reservoir, near Ripley on 23rd October 2023. Divers are always worth going for in the county, and Red-throated and Black-throated Divers have been scarce in Derbyshire in recent years. Butterley Reservoir is a relatively small body of water, so I was hoping that the diver would be showing reasonably well for the camera. I saw the bird on 25th October during the morning, and it took a while before it drifted over to my side of the reservoir and showed really well,  but in the afternoon it was reported to have been […]

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