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Friday, 31 October 2008

Leash Fen on 22nd October, 2008

Prompted by reports of Short-eared Owls in this Derbyshire location, I took a break from my decorating task at home and set off for Leash Fen in the early afternoon. I found the place quickly enough (at about 15.00), and another birder parked beside the road. However, Leash Fen covers quite a large area and, after more than an hour and nothing but crows being seen, I decided to leave the comfort of my car and take a walk eastwards along the road. I came across Ian Hurst, who was a regular visitor to see the owls. Ian gave me the low-down, and so I went to fetch my car so that I could sit comfortably whilst waiting. On the way to the car, a female Kestrel obligingly flew past at quite close range.

Common Kestrel (female)

Having repositioned myself, it was not long before the first Short-eared Owl appeared (at approximately 17.00). Almost immediately there were two - then three - and then a Kestrel mixing in with them. For the next hour, the birds put on a great show, during which they succeeded in putting up a couple of Jack Snipe that flew almost directly over our heads.

Short-eared Owl

As it started getting dark, the birds moved a bit further east from our position and started settling on posts and stone walls on either side of the road. Unfortunately it was somewhat too dark for any reasonable photography by now. However, it had been an amazing evening.

Short-eared Owl

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