Birds, Leps, Observations & Generalities - the images and ramblings of Mark Skevington. Sometimes.

Saturday, 24 November 2007

LEO

Early doors this morning, in the very cold first light, found John Hague and myself at Bagworth Heath looking for Long-eared Owls reported roosting in hawthorns on Thursday. There was no sign of them on Friday, and the in-famous (in-something anyway) Burbage Birders website indicated they'd been flushed on the Thursday - so we weren't full of expectation.
We soon found a very likely looking hawthorn-lined ditch and started grilling the twiggery. Fieldfares and Redwings were knocking about in the hawthorns but no signs of any agitated birds to suggest owls being present. We worked our way down to the end of the ditch, at which point I decided to move around to the other side to check from there. Almost immediately John picked up a roosting bird, and as I moved back to look it was clear that it was not alone and that they were spooked by our presence. Inadvertently we'd managed to flush 3 LEOs. Nothing could be done about it - any of the many dog-walkers arriving could have flushed them as they were in the last bush right next to a main footpath. Two of the owls appeared to turn back and simply move back into the hawthorns further down, whilst the third flew further over and seemed to drop into a lightly wooded copse.
We backed off and re-started the search, and eventually I picked one up. By now Dave Gray had arrived - so he got straight onto the bird with no further disturbance. By the time we left there was a small gathering of LEO admirers, and all got superb views of this very cryptic bush-hugger.
LEO twitch - hopefully someone got a decent enough shot for the LROS news page.
Long-eared Owl was a (one of many) notable omission from my paltry county list, so good to get such good views.

1 comment:

John Hague said...

Marvel at the floating rucksack on the exreme right of the picture!

Oh no sorry it appears to be Carl in some sort of camouflage gear and looking like a US armed militia group member.