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.