Friday, 30 December 2011
This will be my final posting of what has been an interesting and eventful year with the camera.This last week or so has seen some very depressing weather conditions.If it hasn't been raining it has been extremely windy and these conditions have been far from favourable for bird photography.I was determined however to get out to blow away the Christmas cobwebs and returned to the mosslands of South West Lancs hoping for more sightings of short eared owls.
On my first visit it wasn't too bad with less wind and dry, however there was much disturbance in the area that the owls favour for hunting.Many folk were out walking off the Christmas excesses but the major disturbance was a group of men hunting with hawks.They had two magnificent goshawks one of them was an unusual white variety. I understand they were hunting pheasants and they also had a dog to put up any birds present.The owls would be well aware of the hawks and kept hidden for most of the time but did show briefly when they had gone.
On my second visit the wind was ferocious and hammered across the site . I managed to find shelter in a belt of trees but it was still very cold and unpleasant.Mike accompanied me on this visit and his observational skills came to the fore as he scanned the area for any raptors present.Despite the horrible conditions we managed to see a variety of raptors but the hoped for owls didn't show.In total we had six different raptors as follows, kestrel,sparrowhawk,buzzard,merlin,hen harrier and red kite.The red kite was very distant but was a first sighting in Lancs for Mike and I.
I have posted images mainly of short eared owls taken on an earlier visit to this site but the hen harrier image was obtained on the second visit as described above.I have also posted one showing the white goshawk and it's owner as they walked across the rough grassland disturbing any wildlife present.The legality of use of hawks on what is a conservation area is currently being investigated. I hope to return to this location in the New Year when hopefully the short eared owls will still be around and provide a good start to another year of wildlife photography.Many thanks to my followers for looking in at my work and I hope you all enjoy a very happy and healthy 2012.