Friday, 19 June 2009

Spotty and Long Ears

It has been an excellent week weatherwise and I have been out and about with the camera looking particularly for spotted flycatchers. I finally caught up with a very obliging bird near Abbeystead in the Forest of Bowland. I would  like to thank Pete Woodruff for giving me details of the location of this bird and as promised it did perform for me. It was a very hot afternoon and the bird was absent for long periods but did return to its favourite fence posts a couple of times and I was able to observe and photograph this delightful summer visitor. I understand that spotted flycatchers are not as common as they once were and it was the first one that I had seen at close quarters. Thanks again Pete.
After the sighting of the spotted flycatcher I returned home for tea and then later that evening I had an appointment with another friend Paul and a long eared owl!!!  Paul knew the area where a pair of long eared owls had been breeding for many years and where he had previously had a close encounter with one of these magnificent birds. The location was high up in the Pennine moorlands between Burnley and Rawtenstall where we duly arrived around 8.30pm.  We were in position on moorland up above the forested area where the owls have their nest site and around 9pm we had our first view of one of the long ears. It was quartering the moorland but never really came close to us. We followed its progress for a while and briefly had good but distant views of it perching on a moorland wall. The evening was spoilt by thousands of midges as there was little breeze to move them on and despite us using copious amounts of repellant the little buggers still got through our defences !!! It had however been an interesting encounter with what is normally a very difficult owl to observe during daylight hours. The only ones I have previously seen have been during the winter months  at the well known roost at Marton Mere at Blackpool and these have always been asleep deep in thickets of dense scrub. I will return soon to hopefully enjoy closer and prolonged views of these magnificent owls as they hunt over the wild moorlands of the Lancashire Hill Country. The images show the lovely little spotted flycatcher in the Forest of Bowland and the long eared owl hunting on his moorland territory.


  1. These are magnificent creatures. And you did very well in capturing them. I never have asked people to help me find birds. That's a good idea, because some farmers know where the birds are or stay and it would be helpful to be pointed in the right direction.

    Thanks too for your visit to see my first coopers hawk. It still is one of my best hawk photos.

    What zoom lenses do you use for most of your longer shots?

  2. Now you see the rewards of 'going to church' Brian. I like the distance between you and the LEO, in my view it has made a much better image than one filling the frame and gives the feeling it was hard work to achieve......the result here is - as ever - EXCELLENT.

    Please keep up the excellent photography.

  3. Just happened upon your blog Brian, and glad I did. Superb pictures.
    I'll have to look back more often.

  4. Nice descriptions Brian!We`ll have to come up with something to deter those damn midges next time we`re up there.See you soon mate!