Saturday, 13 February 2010

Marsh and Moss

This last week or so has seen me visiting the Ribble Marshes in the Southport area and also exploring some unknown areas of the West Lancs Mosslands inland from the coast. I visited the new RSPB reserve at Hesketh Out Marsh on a couple of occasions but little in the way of bird life was about. This new reserve is not yet established and is very dependent on  high tides flooding the marsh to push the birds in. Conditions were not suitable on my visits but I look forward to future visits to this very exposed part of the Lancashire Coast when more is happening.
I moved on up the coast to Marshside  and Crossens where there was plenty of action taking place. The outer marsh at Crossens was being hunted by six short eared owls, a bittern,merlin and kestrel. I met up here with Colin Bushell well known local birdwatcher and we spent a very enjoyable couple of hours watching the short eared owls hunting the marsh. The birds never came close enough for decent images but did perch up obligingly on fence posts and driftwood on the marsh to give good telescope views. Also present at Marshside were the usual  large numbers of wildfowl but on this short winter's afternoon I didn't have enough time to visit the hides.
My other trips out this week have been to a new location I have discovered inland from the coast, on the mosslands, where I was fortunate to find a hunting barn owl. I have made three visits to observe the barn owl as it comes out to feed and hunt in the late afternoon. I was well pleased with the results I obtained but am looking forward to more visits to observe and photograph this beautiful bird as it hunts the rough fields and ditches of this very quiet part of Lancashire.
I have posted images of the barn owl , short eared owl, and also a hunting kestrel and little egret from Marshside. I hope to revisit the barn owl and this fabulous bird will be the subject of a future post.


  1. SIX short eared owls and a bittern? Wish I'd gone when you did!

    Great shots of the barn owl - and all the others too.

  2. A good read of your visit to this area Brian.

    The top image of the Barn Owl is my favourite and is beautifully composed with the worn out fence post's, the wire and grasses all adding to the atmosphere of the photograph of this superb creature on the lookout for a meal.

  3. Carol and Pete thanks for looking and your very kind comments.
    Carol, think you may have seen this beautiful barn owl !!! Thanks again for pointing me to the area where it lives.
    Pete I agree, this is also my favourite for the reasons you state above.

  4. Brian these are superb, just wish I had half your skill and perseverance. Thank it's inspirational.

  5. Glad you got a shot of the barn owl hunting over the rough grass; that's how I most often see it.

  6. Hi Brian,looks like you`ve been out and about again!Some marvellous images from your repertoire.Keep up with the good work,will see you soon!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  7. Hi Brian,
    Great shots there (I knew they would be!). Wonderful memories of a classic winter's afternoon on the Ribble Estuary .....